Plagued by inflation, a projected upcoming Republican wave in the midterm elections, and high gas prices, President Joe Biden is desperately seeking a win on clean energy.
To achieve that win, he has authorized the inappropriate use of the Defense Production Act— an egregious misuse of executive power.
Last Monday, Biden announced that he authorized use of the Defense Production Act to speed up the domestic production of clean energy technologies—like solar panels and heat pumps— for use in buildings.
The Defense Production Act gives the president a broad set of authorities to influence domestic industry in the interest of national defense. Since it was passed at the start of the Korean War, the act has served as a valuable federal statute to ensure that, when called upon, the domestic industrial base is capable of providing essential materials and goods needed for the national defense.
Over the years, Congress broadened “national defense” to include national emergencies, like pandemics, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters. Biden’s latest actions, however, strain the definition of national defense past the point of credulity. He has authorized the act to serve his political goals—in this case, a radical environmental agenda.
Last year, Biden’s $2.2 trillion Build Back Better bill, which included billions in clean energy programs, failed to pass in Congress. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who killed Biden’s landmark legislation, stated that part of his opposition to the bill was due to its climate and clean energy provisions, saying they “risk the reliability of our electric grid and increase our dependence on foreign supply chains.”
In this latest executive action, Biden has ignored Manchin’s objections and decided to pursue his agenda without the approval of Congress.
So, this is bad energy policy, terrible trade policy, and even worse defense policy given that we will now be more dependent on China, which Secretary of State Anthony Blinken just called the “most serious long-term threat” to the world order.