President Joe Biden Efforts to tackle the climate crisis through executive action received support this week courtesy of Missouri Rep. Corey Bush and Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee. The $100 million in new funding, announced Tuesday along with other measures in an upcoming annual appropriation bill for the Energy and Water Development Agencies and related agencies, will provide the President with resources to accelerate production of solar panels, transformers and other clean technologies. .
In the face of a stalled legislative agenda, Biden turned to the Defense Production Act, using it twice this year to increase the production of clean energy technologies—once in April and again earlier this month. The DPA allows the president to make significant adjustments to U.S. manufacturing policy, powers that House progressives are urging Biden to use more aggressively. Senators of both parties, including Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, also called on Biden to use the DPA to support the production of cleantech—it is more likely to become law once the appropriation bill passes the House of Representatives and is amended in the Senate.
The new funding will increase the effectiveness of Biden’s actions and reinforce the precedent of using executive power to fight the climate crisis. The text of the provision gives Biden broad discretion in deciding how to use funds to support these technologies, which is the standard for policy created through the DPA.
The inclusion of the measure was the result of a last-minute behind-the-scenes effort by Bush, whose office has regularly spearheaded efforts to develop bold climate legislation. In a statement provided to Olx Praca, Bush praised the inclusion of funding. “DPA is one of the most important tools that we need to use at the same time as high gas prices and the climate crisis,” she said. “To protect all of our communities, especially those most in need, we must take decisive action to move quickly to renewable energy and lower prices. This funding helps us achieve this.”
Progressives in Congress called on Biden to use his broad executive powers to make progress on a number of Democratic priorities. In March, the Congressional Progressive Group pushed Biden use DPA as part of an aggressive administrative response to the climate crisis. Bush also introduced similar legislation with Sen. Bernie Sanders, DV, and Rep. Jason Crowe, DV, Colorado, to support the Defense Production Act earlier this year.
But while the leadership of the House of Representatives and the White House have generally supported this provision, Biden’s latest address to the DPA has left members of the House Appropriations Committee with little time to account for the new policy in the ongoing negotiations. Once the individual appropriations subcommittees receive their core numbers, which in this case roughly matched Biden’s announcement in early June, it is difficult to secure funding for new priorities. Coordinating discussions between the White House, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, and Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Ohio, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Water Appropriations, Bush – a first-term representative – exerted a rare influence over a process typically led by seniors. assembly members.
AT Press release marking the subcommittee’s release of the bill, Kaptur touted the inclusion of DPA funding, indicating that Bush’s efforts received significant support from key players in the appropriation process. “From launching energy innovation and using the Defense Production Act to boost domestic production, to responsible water management and addressing the climate change crisis, this energy and water act is meeting America’s needs in the 21st century,” Kaptur said.
If the new funding survives ongoing negotiations, it could spur progressives to demand more action from the administration. Legislation approving Biden’s use of the DPA to support clean energy technologies would provide the administration with a layer of protection against future legal challenges on the matter. If the Democrats lose one or both houses of Congress in November, this precedent could be the key to ensuring the administration has the tools to continue fighting the climate crisis.