But lawmakers would have to work “very quickly” to introduce a new version of the legislation, said Bobby Andres, a senior policy adviser to the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over clean energy tax provisions. . “We still don’t have a new agreement to move forward,” he said, adding, “Congress certainly wouldn’t be able to pull this off. Unfortunately, failure is a possibility.”
Meanwhile, White House officials worry that regulations to force polluting industries to cut emissions could be severely curtailed by the Supreme Court. The Environmental Protection Agency is drafting two regulations to reduce emissions from vehicle tailpipes and power plant chimneys. If those rules are strict and come into effect soon, analysts say, they could reduce pollution from the country’s greenhouse and accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, wind and solar power.
But the EPA is awaiting a Supreme Court decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, a legal challenge filed by 18 Republican attorneys general. Backed by some of the country’s largest coal companies, the attorneys general want judges to sharply curtail, if not eliminate, the agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
Following February’s pleadings, legal experts said they believed the majority of judges, six of whom were appointed by Republican presidents, including three Trump appointees, would be sympathetic to the plaintiffs. “This is a serious threat to regulation,” said Richard Revesz, who teaches environmental law at New York University and has filed a lawsuit in support of the administration.
The agency may still have an impact with another rule, not expected to be completed until 2023, designed to force car companies to rapidly increase sales of zero-emission electric vehicles.
Mr Biden’s allies remain hopeful. Massachusetts Democrat Senator Ed Markey said the president approached him a few weeks ago during a Democratic retreat in Philadelphia to quietly assure him that climate remained a priority. “He made it very clear to me that he is still committed to having a strong climate package become law this year,” Senator Markey said.
mr. Podesta said if that’s true, the president should keep talking about it: “Ultimately, he’ll have to plead the case before the American people.”
Lisa Friedman reporting contributed.