Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Schumer suggests Biden could use emergency powers for climate policy

Chuck Schumer

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wants President Biden to explore use of emergency executive powers to fight climate change, he told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow last night.

Driving the news: Schumer said it "might be a good idea for President Biden to call a climate emergency," and noted, "Then he can do many, many things under the emergency powers of the president ... that he could do without legislation."

  • Schumer added, "Now, [President] Trump used this emergency for a stupid wall which wasn't an emergency. But if there ever was an emergency, climate is one."

Why it matters: Via Bloomberg, "Declaring a climate emergency could unlock new powers for Biden, including the ability to redirect funding for clean energy projects, shut down crude oil exports, suspend offshore drilling and curtail the movement of fossil fuels on pipelines, trains, and ships."

Yes, but: Use of emergency powers would face near-certain litigation.

Where it stands: Schumer also said Democrats are looking at ways to move climate-related efforts via the budget reconciliation process, which enables some spending- and revenue-related policy measures to move via simple majority.

  • He flagged his proposal to spur electric vehicle purchases via discounts for consumers who trade in gasoline-powered cars and funding for charging infrastructure.
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