Biden vows executive orders on climate, health care amid legislative stall

The evenly divided Senate has largely shut down major legislation
Joe Biden, Jul. 13

President Joe Biden on Friday stated he would pursue executive action on climate change and health care unless Congress sent legislation to his desk consistent with his agenda.

“So 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,” he said in a Friday statement. “My 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.”

Biden gave few details as to potential actions but encouraged the Senate to "move forward" with legislative efforts on these issues.

While the Democratic Party currently maintains a majority in the House and has passed a plethora of legislation on climate and health care issues, the evenly divided Senate has largely shut down such measures. Though Vice President Kamala Harris may act as a tie-breaking vote, Democrats must overcome the filibuster's 60-vote threshold to send legislation to Biden's desk.

Biden's domestic agenda has largely stalled in Congress, with Republicans and Democrats alike delivering blows to critical legislation. West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin on Thursday declined to support a Democrat-led economic package due to concerns about the climate and tax provisions in the legislation and record inflation.

Alongside Democratic Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Manchin has also resisted his party's efforts to abolish or circumvent the Senate filibuster to push pivotal legislation over Republican objections, including on major issues such as abortion rights.

Legislative success has bot been entirely elusive for Biden, however, as his party successfully wooed 15 Republicans in late June to pass the Bipartisan Safe Communities Act, a modest gun control bill expanding background checks and funding mass shooting prevention programs following a string of such incidents.