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Biden says he will take executive action to address climate change should Congress fail to act

President Biden on Friday warned that climate change and clean energy remain “more urgent than ever,” and said if the Senate will not tackle the issue, he will take “strong executive action to meet this moment” and “will not back down.”

The president’s comments come after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., reportedly said that he will not support a bill before November’s midterm elections with any provisions on energy and climate. Democrats had hoped to pass a sweeping package ahead of the election. Manchin responded to the reporting Friday in a radio interview, saying he would wait until August, after the July inflation numbers are released, to decide.

“Political headlines are of no value to the millions of Americans struggling to afford groceries and gas as inflation soars to 9.1%,” Manchin spokesperson Sam Runyon said in a statement to Fox News Digital Thursday. “Senator Manchin believes it’s time for leaders to put political agendas aside, reevaluate and adjust to the economic realities the country faces to avoid taking steps that add fuel to the inflation fire.”

In his statement, Biden said “Action on climate change and clean energy remains more urgent than ever,” adding, “Let me be clear: if the Senate will not move to tackle the climate crisis and strengthen our domestic clean energy industry, I will take strong executive action to meet this moment.”

Biden said his actions will “create jobs, improve our energy security, bolster domestic manufacturing and supply chains, protect us from oil and gas price hikes in the future, and address climate change.”

MANCHIN SAYS HE WON’T SUPPORT CLIMATE, TAX PROVISIONS IN SWEEPING DEMOCRATIC BILL

“I will not back down: the opportunity to create jobs and build a clean energy future is too important to relent,” he said.

The president urged the Senate to “move forward” and pass the measure “before the August recess and get it to my desk so I can sign it.”

Biden said the measure will not only lower the cost of prescription drugs and health care for families, but he claimed it would also “reduce the deficit and help fight inflation,” as the nation grapples with the highest inflation rates in more than 40 years.

Biden thanked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., for his “dogged and determined effort to produce the strongest possible bill to bring down costs, reduce the deficit, and combat the climate crisis while boosting our energy security—even offering significant compromises to try to reach an agreement.”

“Now, Congress must act quickly and get legislation to my desk to deliver for American families,” he said.

Manchin indicated he would support a reconciliation bill in August that includes a provision to lower prescription drug prices and a two-year extension of subsidies for the Affordable Care Act, according to a Democrat briefed on the conversations. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., waits to speak during an event to mark one year since the U.S. Capitol insurrection on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

WAPO REPORTER: DELAYING BIDEN’S CLIMATE BILL COULD HAVE ‘FATAL, PERMANENT AND GLOBAL’ EFFECTS, BLAME MANCHIN

Manchin’s demands mean Democrats would probably only be able to produce a far smaller bill that erases the hopes of many in the party to use it to fund clean energy incentives that could begin to help curb global warming.

Previously, Democrats had removed other provisions like paid family leave amid negotiations with Manchin. 

His vote is imperative for Democrats to be able to use the budget reconciliation process for the party-line bill, a process that only requires a majority vote rather than the 60-vote filibuster threshold. 

REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: BUILD BACK BETTER BUDGET FIGHT RETURNS, THIS TIME AMID MORE INFLATION 

Democrats have a slim 50-50 majority in the Senate (including 2 Independents who caucus with Democrats), and Vice President Kamala Harris would cast the tie breaking vote.  

Fox News’ Jason Donner, Brie Stimson and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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