Key Democrat says legislation still the ‘best option’ for climate action
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Monday said legislation is the “best option” to tackle climate change as President Biden vowed to take executive actions given Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) opposition to Democratic proposals.
Wyden said the problem with executive action is that it is vulnerable to challenges in court.
“While I strongly support additional executive action by President Biden, we know a flood of Republican lawsuits will follow. Legislation continues to be the best option here.”
He said said talks should continue in Congress despite Manchin’s opposition.
“Conversations on clean energy must continue to preserve our options to move forward,” he said.
He said that without the certainty provided by the tax credits that Democrats have been discussing, “investment in clean domestic energy will fall far short of what is necessary to reduce carbon emissions and secure lower prices for American consumers.”
He also invoked technologies that Manchin largely supports, warning that without the incentives, “carbon capture and sequestration, hydrogen and new advanced nuclear power will struggle to take off.”
Manchin last week raised concerns about inflation after a new report showed consumer prices rising at a more than 9 percent rate annually, saying that in such circumstances it was “not prudent” to pursue spending on climate change and taxes on the wealthy.
The West Virginia Democrat left the window open to support a measure later this year if inflation data improves, but most Democrats are pessimistic given a limited time frame to use budget reconciliation measures and a skepticism that Biden may never agree to a deal.
Biden on Friday urged Congress to leave aside the climate and tax provisions in favor of a health care-only reconciliation package, saying he’d handle climate change through strong executive action.