Courts Could Stall President Biden’s Climate Goals:
This week, three key regulations central to President Joe Biden's climate goals will face legal challenges in federal court, potentially impacting his plans to increase electric vehicle (EV) sales and combat climate change.
- EPA and DOT Emissions and Fuel Economy Standards:
Two cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals challenge rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) that strengthen tailpipe emissions and fuel economy standards for model year 2026. These rules are critical to Biden's climate agenda, including his goal of having EVs account for 50% of all vehicle sales by the end of the decade.
If successful, these regulations could lead to a significant increase in EV sales by 2026.
Critics argue that these rules may disrupt the auto market and limit consumer choice in gasoline vehicles.
- California's Ability to Set Stringent Auto Pollution Rules:
A third case involves a challenge by Republican-controlled states to the Clean Air Act provision that allows California to adopt stricter auto pollution rules than the federal government. This provision has empowered California to push automakers toward zero-emission vehicles more quickly.
If upheld, California's ability to set more stringent regulations would continue to influence automakers' shift toward zero-emission vehicles.
Challenges to this provision are based on the equal-sovereignty doctrine, arguing that it treats states differently, potentially reaching the Supreme Court.
These legal challenges could impact future regulations, including those that project a significant increase in EV sales by 2032. While agencies typically receive deference from courts, more significant transformations, like the proposed regulations for the early 2030s, may face greater scrutiny.
Overall, the outcome of these legal challenges will have implications for Biden's climate goals, EV adoption, and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. A favorable ruling for the administration could strengthen its ability to implement climate-friendly policies, while unfavorable outcomes may hinder progress in addressing climate change through transportation.
Michigan Automotives Could go on Strike:
The United Auto Workers (UAW) is threatening to launch a strike that could have significant implications for Michigan, the automotive industry, and President Joe Biden's political prospects. If the strike goes forward, it could disrupt some of Michigan's largest factories for weeks, impacting the economy and potentially affecting Biden's chances in a key battleground state.
Michigan Democrats are supportive of the UAW but are cautious about the potential political consequences of a strike in a state that helped secure both Donald Trump's 2016 and Biden's 2020 victories. They are particularly concerned if the UAW's demands for higher wages are not met and if union voters become disillusioned with the Democratic Party.
A prolonged strike against major automakers like Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis could also have ripple effects on Biden's reelection efforts in Michigan and Wisconsin, two critical states for Democrats in 2024. The strike's economic impact could lead to a recession in Michigan and affect neighboring states with auto industry suppliers.
The UAW president, Shawn Fain, has indicated that a rolling series of strikes may occur if negotiations with the companies do not result in a satisfactory agreement. Such a strike could cost billions of dollars, including lost wages for workers and company losses.
This strike presents a unique challenge for Biden, who has positioned himself as a pro-union president. It could clash with his climate policy, which involves significant investments in electric vehicle manufacturing. The strike may also highlight differences between the UAW's wage demands and Biden's climate policies that promote cleaner energy and technology development.
While Trump has attempted to leverage the strike to create division between Biden and the UAW, the union has refrained from endorsing either candidate, citing their concerns about Biden's labor and climate policies.
The outcome of the strike negotiations will have implications for Biden's climate goals and the perception of climate policy as a source of middle-class jobs. While some Democrats believe that the UAW's influence has waned in recent years, the strike's impact on Michigan and the automotive industry could still have political consequences for Biden and the Democratic Party.
In conclusion, the UAW's threatened strike carries significant economic and political implications, including its potential impact on Biden's reelection prospects and his climate policies.
Senate Aspires to Pass ‘Minibus’:
The Senate has taken its first step towards passing a nearly $280 billion government funding package in an 85-12 vote. This "minibus" combines three bills: Agriculture-FDA, Military Construction-VA, and Transportation-HUD. Senate leaders aim to use the House-passed Military Construction-VA bill as the vehicle for the fiscal 2024 funding bundle, with the goal of displaying unity in contrast to the spending divisions affecting House Republicans.
The Senate's minibus, however, does not address the impending government shutdown, set for September 30th. To avert a shutdown and allow for bicameral, bipartisan talks on government funding for the new 2024 fiscal year, both the House and Senate will need to consider a continuing spending resolution. This resolution will also impact negotiations on billions of dollars in disaster relief and critical aid for Ukraine.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer emphasized the necessity of both parties working together in a bipartisan manner to prevent a shutdown. Final passage of the three-bill minibus is expected to occur next week. However, before that can happen, Senate leaders will need to agree on a process that includes votes on messaging amendments, even if these amendments are unlikely to succeed.