washington | After having chained disappointments in Congress, Joe Biden could bet on a climate project to try to save the planet with one stone … and his presidency.
Last week, the American leader announced that efforts were underway to resuscitate the climate component of his gigantic social spending plan, buried by the Senate.
This plan provided $555 billion to meet Joe Biden’s very ambitious greenhouse gas emissions targets, the largest climate investment ever seen in the United States.
“I spoke to a number of my congressional colleagues,” the president said at a press conference. “I think we could have support” on this project.
Immediately, the elected Democrats of his camp began to activate behind the scenes.
Because Joe Biden’s bet is bold.
The United States may be affected by deadly floods and devastating fires every year, but the climate is far down the list of concerns for American households, far behind inflation or the pandemic.
To garner support for its climate program, the White House assures that the text aims to fill the wallets of Americans:
Rather than penalties on polluters, the $555 billion is intended to shift the U.S. economy toward clean energy sources, starting with massive tax credits for wind power producers and consumers, solar and nuclear.
For the purchase of an electric car made in the United States, an American would receive up to 12,500 dollars in tax credits. The installation of a solar panel on its roof would be supported at 30%.
Without this climate project, “there is no doubt that it would be much more difficult for the United States to achieve its objectives” of the COP, argues Debbie Weyl, vice-president in the United States of the World Resources Institute .
However, the Democrats can only count on the votes of their camp for the moment, the Republicans having expressed their opposition to this project.
A spokeswoman for Senator Lisa Murkowski, one of the moderate voices of the conservative camp, told AFP that she could not support the text as it stands, regretting an “ultra-partisan” process which “deliberately harms” his state, Alaska, very dependent on fossil fuels.
The Manchin Equation
The majority of the Biden camp in the Senate is so slim that the future of this legislation therefore rests in the hands of a single Democratic senator: Joe Manchin, elected from West Virginia, one of the states known for its coal mines.
Some collectives of miners in his state have come out in favor of the president’s climate component, which includes aid for people suffering from a serious lung disease caused by the inhalation of coal dust.
But the senator, already the gravedigger of Joe Biden’s last legislative projects, has repeatedly opposed what he considers to be too big spending projects, which he believes risk fueling the inflation of which his constituents complain.
A compromise could be found with the Democrats around a slightly less costly addition.
“I am convinced that the Democrats will pass a scaled-down but still substantial climate bill this year,” judge Paul Bledsoe, climate adviser to former President Bill Clinton, told AFP. “If they don’t, voters will punish them. »
Democrats have only a few months left to act before the midterm elections, in which they could lose their very slim majorities in Congress, which would make any legislative progress even more perilous.
Joe Biden, who is struggling against a plummeting popularity rating, has no right to fail.