- The Washington Times
Friday, April 22, 2022

President Biden reasserted himself Friday as a global leader on climate change, delivering a speech in Seattle commemorating Earth Day and rebutting left-wing activists who say he‘s ceded ground in the climate change fight.

Mr. Biden has suffered sharp criticism from some of his most ardent supporters over his recent actions to lower gas prices that environmentalists say are setbacks for climate goals and run counter to the president’s campaign promises.

The administration is now seeking to turn the page and put the spotlight on Congress to take aggressive climate action. 

“My pen’s ready to sign. I’m anxious to sign,” Mr. Biden said. “Get some of these bills to my desk.”

It’s a sharp turnaround for Mr. Biden who came into office boasting that he‘s a seasoned Capitol Hill dealmaker who can work across the aisle to get the job done.

Flanked by Seattle’s mayor, local leaders, Washington’s congressional delegation and Gov. Jay Inslee — who Mr. Biden called “the climate governor” — the president signed an executive order to help restore and protect the country’s oldest forests against climate change.

Environmental activists, labor unions and other Democratic-allied organizations will hold Earth Day rallies across the country this weekend and demand more aggressive action on climate change from elected officials. There will be celebrations of the unilateral environmental initiatives taken by the president and the administration during his first 15 months, such as rolling back many Trump-era policies, raising vehicle fuel economy standards and advancing clean energy projects.

However, left-wing activists are frustrated and feel Mr. Biden‘s meager wins have been overshadowed by his broken promises to accomplish sweeping legislation to address a warming planet, as The Washington Times has reported.

In addition, they’re furious with recent steps taken to blunt prices at the pump, like opening more federal lands to oil and natural gas drilling, releasing a record amount of oil from strategic reserves and waiving a rule on ethanol-based fuel. 

Mr. Biden acknowledged the pushback his ambitious climate objectives have received on Capitol Hill — including from his Democrats — and the outsized power that any one person possesses in a split Senate. Moderate Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia have been the main obstacles to Mr. Biden scoring a major environmental victory.

“There’s only two senators occasionally who don’t vote with me,” Mr. Biden said. “They talk about the split in the Democratic Party. There’s virtually no split in the Democratic Party. We just happen to have 50 presidents. All kidding aside, 48 of my Democratic colleagues in the Senate vote with me 94% of the time.”

The president called on Congress to pass an array of climate-related proposals that would also help Americans’ pocketbooks. These include more tax credits for clean technologies and products, as well as environmental standards that would work toward achieving the administration’s ambitious target to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.

“All you have to do is look around. Cities and states are acting. Businesses are acting. I’m acting. We need Congress to act as well,” he said. “And the people behind me are pushing Congress hard to pass new investments and tax credits aimed directly at lowering costs for families.”

• Ramsey Touchberry can be reached at rtouchberry@washingtontimes.com.

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