“So let me be clear: if the Senate will not move to tackle the climate crisis and strengthen our domestic clean energy industry, I will take strong executive action to meet this moment,” he said in a statement released by the White House on Friday. “My actions will create jobs, improve our energy security, bolster domestic manufacturing and supply chains, protect us from oil and gas price hikes in the future, and address climate change.”
Biden also wrote that “health care is critical” and suggested he would issue an executive order to “lower drug prices and to prevent an increase in health insurance premiums for millions of families.”
In the statement, Biden did not elaborate on what steps he would take to address health care or the climate in his executive orders.
The statement came after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) reportedly told top Democrats, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), on Thursday that he will not support new spending on climate-related measures or tax hikes
“I said, ‘Chuck until we see the July inflation figures, until we see the July, basically Federal Reserve rates, interest rates, then let’s wait till that comes out so we know that we’re going down a path that won’t be inflammatory, to add more to inflation,’” Manchin said on Friday morning during a radio interview.
“He says, ‘Are you telling me you won’t do the other right now?’” Manchin recalled. “I said, ‘Chuck, it’s wrong, it’s not prudent to do the other right now.’”
Democrats Make Demands
Following the development, Democrats expressed disappointment and demanded that Biden take executive action targeting the climate.
“With legislative climate options now closed, it’s now time for executive Beast Mode,” Sen. Shelton Whitehouse (D-R.I.) wrote on Twitter. “Free at last. Let’s roll. Do it all and start it now.”
Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) issued a statement in reference to Manchin’s decision, saying that “this is our last chance” to pass climate-related measures.
But a spokesperson for Manchin told reporters this week that the senator has serious concerns about soaring inflation. A report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics this week revealed that inflation spiked to 9.1 percent year-over-year in June.
“Political headlines are of no value to the millions of Americans struggling to afford groceries and gas as inflation soars to 9.1 percent,” Manchin spokeswoman Sam Runyon told Bloomberg. “Senator Manchin believes it’s time for leaders to put political agendas aside, reevaluate and adjust to the economic realities the country faces to avoid taking steps that add fuel to the inflation fire.”
Republicans say the spiking inflation and elevated gas prices are largely due to Biden’s policies. The president promoted the $2 trillion American Rescue Plan in early 2021 and also targeted the oil industry in a series of executive orders after he took office last year.
The White House released Biden’s statement threatening executive action while the president was visiting with the Saudi royal family on a several-day visit to the Middle East.