Biden Continues to Push Climate Policy in Visit to National Renewable Energy Lab

By Nick Ciolino
Nick Ciolino
Nick Ciolino
Nick Ciolino covers the White House.
September 15, 2021 Updated: September 15, 2021

President Joe Biden made the final stop of his West Coast trip Tuesday in Colorado to continue pushing for his $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and his $3.5 trillion spending plan.

Biden toured the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, observing wind turbine testing and new battery technologies at the facility before making his address.

“We have to make the investments to slow our contributions to climate change today not tomorrow,” said Biden.

Biden also surveyed areas in California affected by wildfires Monday and visited areas impacted by flash flooding on the East Coast last week to promote the bills, using the weather events to demonstrate the need for his climate agenda.

Biden is also touting the infrastructure bill as a creator of union jobs and an improvement for the electric grid.

“We need a modern electric grid. One that is much higher capacity, more resilient transmission, you know, and has more storage capacity,” Biden said, “using advanced batteries so it can hold onto surplus energy generated when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing.”

The infrastructure bill passed the Senate last week in a bipartisan vote that included 19 Republicans. It now heads to the House.

Meanwhile, House Democrats announced plans Monday for a tax hike on corporations and the wealthy to fund Biden’s massive $3.5 trillion budget proposal, which in addition to investments in climate policy, also includes far reaching changes to health care, child care, and the expansion of social programs.

The changes to the tax code would be the most significant since the Republican tax cuts in 2017. They include a 39.6 percent rate for individuals earning more than $400,000, or $450,000 for couples, with a 3 percent tax on Americans with adjusted income beyond $5 million a year. The corporate tax rate would go up from 21 percent to 26.5 percent on incomes beyond $5 million.

Democrats are trying to push the budget resolution through without Republican support, but Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said over the weekend he would not vote for the $3.5 trillion bill, saying there’s “no way” to meet the Sept. 27 deadline set by Democrats.

Biden was asked by reporters Tuesday if he would sign a reconciliation package with slimmed down measures to address climate change. “I’m up for more climate measures,” Biden said.

When asked if Biden would be willing to walk back his $3.5 trillion ask, principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters during the flight to Colorado there were no calls between Biden and Manchin to read out, but added the White House is in constant communication with members on the hill and their staff.

The speech comes as Biden’s approval rating has taken a dip in the wake of the vaccine mandates he announced last week and the U.S. exodus from Afghanistan, according to Gallup and Ipsos polls.

Nick Ciolino
Nick Ciolino
Nick Ciolino covers the White House.