Tags: Barack Obama | Climate Change | climate | Obama | irrelevant | lame duck | executive authority

Climate Deal Seen as Obama Move to Show He's Not Irrelevant

By    |   Thursday, 13 Nov 2014 05:23 PM

With the relevancy of his final two years in office on the line, President Barack Obama is flexing his executive authority on his China trip to prove there's still much his lame-duck administration can do without Congress, Politico reports.

Touting his agreement with China to cut greenhouse gas emissions as an "historic agreement," the president showed he's not bowed by the trouncing Democrats suffered in the midterm elections — and that he'll do what he can to advance his agenda with or without a Congress where the GOP controls both chambers.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest admitted as much Thursday, Politico says, calling the climate pact "consistent with something that the president talked about in the aftermath of last week's election, that during his remaining time in office he's going to squeeze every ounce of opportunity that he has out of the presidency."

"The president has indicated that he's going to use all of the authority that's vested in the executive branch of the United States to take action that would benefit the American people," he added.

Obama suggested as much even before the China trip, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"We're not going to stop speaking out on behalf of the things we care about," he said.

John Podesta, who worked on the new climate pact, also guided President Bill Clinton's drive to use executive power to work around a hostile Congress, according to Politico. Podesta has said Obama initially had been reluctant to make use of his executive authority, but has "warmed up to it" faced with Capitol Hill gridlock.

The new swagger the climate deal has given Obama has caught on with aides as well, who seem to relish a coming fight over the issue with the likely new chairman of the Senate Energy and Environment Committee, Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Politico reports.

"It would be nice if we had some help and support from the Congress, but as you know, particularly in light of the election, we have now the Congress' leading climate denier in charge of the environment committee," one administration official told Politico. "It's going to be tough sledding to get additional legislation."

Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who will be the new Senate majority leader in January, seems ready to do battle, Politico says, calling the climate deal part of Obama's "war on coal."

"This unrealistic plan that the president would dump on his successor would ensure higher utility rates and far fewer jobs," McConnell said.

But the White House isn't budging on new regulations needed to meet the climate goals, such as Environmental Protection Agency regulations on carbon emissions from power plants.

"We feel confident that we can move forward and finalize that rule and … get it implemented," the administration official told Politico. "This is really the crusade of sorts of a narrow group of people who politically made this a cause celebr√©, but we believe we will be successful."

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With the relevancy of his final two years in office on the line, President Obama is flexing his executive authority on his China trip to prove there's still much his lame-duck administration can do without Congress, Politico reports.
climate, Obama, irrelevant, lame duck, executive authority, china
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2014-23-13
Thursday, 13 Nov 2014 05:23 PM
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