What to Know in Washington: Biden to Announce Climate Moves

  • President will stop short of declaring climate emergency
  • Senate advances $52 billion for semiconductors

President Joe Biden on Wednesday will announce executive action to confront climate change, including plans to steer federal dollars to heat-ravaged communities, though he’s holding off for now on an emergency decree that would allow him to marshal sweeping powers against global warming.

The president will outline the steps he’s taking at a shuttered coal-fired power plant in Massachusetts, vowing that he won’t allow a congressional impasse on climate legislation to put off urgent action to slow rising global temperatures, according to a White House official who asked to speak anonymously before the speech is delivered.

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Biden on the South Lawn of the White House on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

White House officials are still weighing a separate declaration that climate change is a national emergency — a step that would unlock broad executive authority to propel clean-energy construction, restrict oil drilling and curb the transport of fossil fuels.

The emergency order is one of several tactics now under deliberation as the White House weighs strategies to demonstrate Biden’s commitment to clean energy without jeopardizing ongoing talks on health care legislation in Congress, according to people familiar with the discussions. Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Ari Natter and Josh Wingrove preview Biden’s actions.

Legislation & Nominations


  • The House meets at 10 a.m. to hold a final vote on a six-bill minibus spending package.
  • Senators convene at 10 a.m. to consider federal court nominations.

The US Senate voted by a 64-34 margin to begin debate on legislation to provide more than $52 billion in grants and incentives for the American semiconductor industry. The vote met the criteria set by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to add research and development initiatives circulated by Republican Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) to the legislation, which could be passed by the Senate next week. Read more from Daniel Flatley and Erik Wasson.

  • Meanwhile, a bipartisan Senate group is making a last-minute push to revive a tax break for corporate R&D in the bill. Young said lawmakers are eyeing a one-year extension to a tax break for R&D costs that expired at the end of 2021. Read more from Laura Davison and Erik Wasson.

The House passed a bill that would recognize same-sex marriages under federal law and extend legal protections to all married couples, a reaction to concern that the Supreme Court might reconsider a ruling extending those rights. The House’s 267-157 vote on the bill included 47 Republicans joining all Democrats in support. The legislation faces long odds in the evenly divided Senate, where 60 votes are needed to pass most legislation. Read more from Jarrell Dillard.

Former Supreme Court contender Michelle Childs handily won Senate confirmation to the powerful federal appeals court in Washington. The Democratic-led Senate confirmed Childs 64 to 34 on Tuesday with support from 15 Republicans. She’s the second Biden circuit nominee to receive that level of GOP support, Madison Alder reports.

A Perkins Coie attorney’s nomination to be a US attorney in Sen. Ron Johnson‘s (R-Wis.) state won’t get his support over now-deleted tweets, potentially sinking her confirmation chances. Johnson’s Tuesday announcement that he won’t support the confirmation of Sopen Shah comes after the senator recommended her to the White House through a bipartisan nomination commission with fellow Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D). Madison Alder has more.

Democrats eyeing a permanent extension of the Obamacare subsidies to avoid creating another deadline now say they’re willing to take what they can get to avoid premium increases for 2023 and a rise in the uninsured rate. Senate Democrats are preparing a partisan bill to direct the federal government to demand lower prices for certain medicines and extend for at least two years expanded premium subsidies for people who get their insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s individual marketplace. Read more from Alex Ruoff and Tony Pugh.

An impasse among congressional leaders over industry fees could force the FDA to let go of thousands of employees and lose out on changes to its fast-track drug pathway, former officials and policy watchers warn. Legislation reauthorizing user fees that help fund the FDA came into question last week when Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the ranking Republican on the Senate health committee, seemingly walked away from months of talks. Celine Castronuovo and Alex Ruoff have more.

The overturning of Roe v. Wade has fueled medical uncertainties for women’s miscarriage care as well as procedures meant to treat chronic or life-threatening diseases, Democratic lawmakers said Thursday. Patients are facing long delays for miscarriage health care, and medical professionals are deferring to hospital attorneys to make treatment calls, doctors told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight panel at a hearing Tuesday. Read more from Maia Spoto.

  • On Thursday, Senate Democrats will try pass via unanimous consent a bill to inject billions into federal family planning services. The move is another push by Democrats to pressure Republicans on issue surrounding pregnancy and abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to end Roe. The legislation would greatly expand certain reproductive health care services, namely birth control and cancer screenings, Alex Ruoff reports. Read text of the legislation here.
  • Across the street from the Capitol, more than a dozen lawmakers—most from the Democratic Women’s Caucus—were arrested by US Capitol Police at an abortion-rights rally at the Supreme Court. Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.), Nydia Velazquez (N.Y.), Cori Bush (Mo.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), and Ilhan Omar (Minn.) were among those detained and removed. Read more from Ella Ceron.

Hearings & Committee Work

The Judiciary House panel plans to mark up a bill (H.R. 1808) to ban the sale, import, manufacture, or transfer of a long list of such weapons, including some of the specific AR-style semi-automatic rifles used by gunmen during shootings in a Uvalde, Texas, school and a parade in Highland Park, Ill.

  • Gun makers will testify to the House Oversight Committee Wednesday, including Sturm, Ruger & Company, to examine their role in contributing to the country’s gun violence epidemic, according to a panel release. Sturm CEO Christopher Killoy and Daniel Defense CEO Marty Daniel are scheduled to attend the hearing. Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Smith was invited to testify, the release says, Airielle Lowe reports.

The treaty needed for Finland and Sweden to join NATO cleared its first hurdle on Tuesday, with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voting in favor. The panel, led by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), backed the treaty on voice vote, sending it to the chamber floor where lawmakers said it could win final approval before the August recess. “Their membership will be a force multiplier for stability and democracy,” Menendez said. Read more from Nancy Ognanovich.

Legislation that would allow Puerto Rico to change its relationship with the US will be considered Wednesday by the House Natural Resources Committee. The panel plans to vote on a measure (H.R. 8393) sponsored by the committee’s chairman, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), that would mandate and fund a referendum that would present the island’s voters with three options: statehood, independence, or sovereignty in free association with the US. Read more from Zach C. Cohen, Emily Wilkins, and Jim Wyss.am

The US’s successful collaboration with 37 other nations that’s driven down exports to Russia serves as a blueprint for a new regime on tackling threats from China, Commerce Under Secretary Alan Estevez said in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Tuesday. Estevez leads the Bureau of Industry and Security. Read more from Ana Monteiro.

Republicans warned Biden’s top transportation official the administration’s policies could worsen the diminishing solvency of the Highway Trust Fund. Lawmakers pointed to the administration’s push toward more electric vehicles, which don’t pay a tax at the pump, and Biden’s urging for Congress to temporarily suspend the national gasoline tax as key hurdles to sufficient funding for US highways. The gas tax is the main source of money for the Highway Trust Fund. Lillianna Byington has more.

Changes to landmark privacy legislation aim to resolve some of the thorniest differences among lawmakers ahead of an anticipated committee vote. Committee leaders plan to introduce an amendment to the bipartisan, bicameral American Data Privacy and Protection Act (H.R. 8152) that would change the bill’s relationship to state privacy laws—meant to address California lawmakers’ worries about the bill weakening state law. Read more from Maria Curi.

SEC guidance for how companies should report digital assets to investors has grabbed the attention of congressional Republicans, who say the new accounting instructions could discourage banks from entering the cryptocurrency market, Amanda Iacone reports.

Elections, Politics & Probes

Steve Bannon “refused to follow the rules” in defying a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 committee, a prosecutor said during opening statements in his contempt of Congress trial. But the defense alleged the referral for charges was political. “This case is about the defendant thumbing his nose at the orderly processes of our government,” Department of Justice prosecutor Amanda Vaughn told a jury in a Washington courtroom on Tuesday. Read more from Sabrina Willmer.

  • Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is backing up the Secret Service’s explanation for missing texts related to the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol, but pledged the agency will learn from the situation as more facts surface. Read more from Ellen M. Gilmer. Meanwhile, the National Archives and Records Administration asked the Secret Service to determine whether any text messages were improperly deleted, and told the agency that it must submit a report within 30 days documenting what occurred. Read more from Chris Strohm and Erik Wasson.

Former President Donald Trump announcing another run for the White House before the midterm elections would be a boon for Democrats and a “disaster” for Republicans, New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries said. “Run, Donald, run,” Jeffries, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said Tuesday when asked about the prospect of Trump announcing a 2024 presidential bid before the November election. Read more from Billy House.

George Soros is throwing his financial support behind Democrat Beto O’Rourke as he seeks to oust Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R). Soros donated $1 million to the underdog’s Texas political action committee last month, according to filings released Tuesday by the Texas Ethics Commission. Read more from Shelley Hagan.

Dan Cox won the Republican primary in the race to replace Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland, a race that became a proxy clash between Trump and Hogan, a potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate. The Associated Press called the race for Cox, a lawyer and state delegate, late Tuesday night. Mark Niquette has more on the results.

Around the Administration


  • Biden at 2:45 p.m. will give remarks in Somerset, Massachusetts on addressing climate change through executive actions.

The 12-member panel of outside experts convened by the CDC voted unanimously to recommend Novavax’s Covid vaccine for adults. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky signed off on the advice from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which allows the shot to finally go into arms. Read more from Fiona Rutherford.

The US said Mexico’s nationalist energy policies violate North America’s free-trade deal and has requested dispute-settlement talks under the agreement, according to people with knowledge of the matter who also showed a government statement to Bloomberg News, Max de Haldevang and Nacha Cattan report.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com; Michaela Ross in Washington at mross@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Giuseppe Macri at gmacri@bgov.com; Loren Duggan at lduggan@bgov.com