Jhe Supreme Court dealt a blow to the executive’s ability to regulate carbon emissions, effectively insisting that Congress regain jurisdiction over environmental regulations and muddying legislative waters in the crucial final weeks of the US session. ‘summer.
The court’s 6-3 decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency on June 30, rolled back President Joe Biden’s climate agenda by reducing the EPA’s power over greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector, meaning Congress will likely have to pass these regulations. The Biden administration and Democratic lawmakers are desperate to pass some form of climate infrastructure bill as time is running out to tout Democratic-led accomplishments ahead of the midterm elections.
Biden’s ambitious green energy program aims for 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035 and for half of new vehicles sold to be electric by the same time. He was working through the EPA to develop policies to achieve that goal, but with the recent ruling, the administration will either have to get creative or collaborate.
With the Senate split 50-50 by party, any effort to impose these regulations must appeal to the full Democratic spectrum. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is determined to strike a deal to pass something that addresses the climate.
“Make no mistake about it – the consequences of this decision will ripple through the entire federal government, from food and drug regulation to our nation’s health care system, putting American lives at risk, making all the more imperative that Democrats soon pass meaningful legislation to address the climate crisis,” Schumer said in a statement after the advisory was released.
True to its word, climate and energy provisions are now core parts of reconciliation legislation, taking center stage as time ticks away before the August-long recess. The bill is similar to Biden’s failed social spending bill, Build Back Better, and includes provisions that encourage clean energy generation and tax methane emissions. He needs the support of Sens centrists. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who defeated the original Build Back Better bill last year when they refused to change Senate filibuster rules.
Manchin and Schumer reportedly reached an agreement on the healthcare portion of the bill, boding well for this attempt to push something through. Additionally, Manchin has hinted that he favors a carbon border adjustment tax on imports, in which the duty on imports would match the carbon emissions that go into the production of the imported goods.
“The reason Democrats and Republicans are talking about border adjustment, we think that’s the only level playing field we could have [against China]said Manchin during a recent credits hearing.
This Supreme Court term has been problematic for some key Democratic policies, such as abortion rights in the reversal of Roe vs. Wade and a rebuke of New York’s strict gun laws. Schumer apparently decided his best option was to prioritize the reconciliation bill with environmental provisions, as any abortion legislation would require reform of the filibuster rules and a bipartisan guns bill. to fire already passed in the Senate.
It could upend months of work on the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, also known as the Bipartisan Innovation Act and CHIPS Act, which, if not passed by the end of July , may not be adopted at all, depending on News. This bill is primarily aimed at addressing the shortage of computer chips affecting some of the supply chain issues, but it also includes many other infrastructure concerns.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he wouldn’t insist that USICA be done before the break if Schumer decided to prioritize the reconciliation bill, which is the case. More than 100 lawmakers from both houses have been trying for months to reconcile the two versions of USICA passed by the House, with more than 1,000 points apparently still to be addressed. The compromise deadline floated further into the future with each month of negotiations.
How did Congress react to West Virginia vs. EPA and what other major Supreme Court rulings play out with Democratic voters in the midterm elections is an open question. With the ball back in the legislature’s possession on specific concerns, some see voters encouraged to vote Democratic for the chance to codify environmental protections or abortion access. Others say voter turnout will be depressed if Democrats can’t win protections despite control of both houses of Congress and the White House.
“From a political perspective, the frustration over these decisions can be used by Biden and the Democrats to galvanize midterm voters,” said Democratic strategist Tom Cochran. “When a conservative opposition gains ground, Democrats have something tangible to run or rally against.”