While the midterm elections have resulted in a split Congress, experts say that they believe the White House’s climate policy agenda will still survive.
The midterm elections did not deliver the typical historic blow for the party holding the White House. Typically in midterms, the legislative branch shifts to the opposing party.
But Democrats held onto their Senate majority. Republicans are expected to take control of the House of Representatives with a slim majority.
While some worry that a divided Congress will hinder the Biden administration’s domestic and foreign climate policy agenda, there may be cause for cautious optimism, according to Claire Healy, the director of climate think tank E3G’s Washington office.
“There are still ways that we can work with Congress to make progress,” Healy said.
While a Republican house may slow things down and may drain energy from the agenda, climate experts such as Healy remain hopeful.
A Republican House “may slow things down and may sap energy,” she said. “Republicans in the House are quite aggressive in the oversight they provide, and oversight is good if channeled in the right direction, but if used as a political weapon, less so.”
Experts are recommending that the focus should be on crafting policies that can speak to bipartisan interests while still achieving environmental goals.
Healy also emphasized that even if Republicans push back against U.S. climate action, European Union rules regarding corporate sustainability will still push for change in the U.S. economy.
“The Republican House is not going to change what Europe is doing on those rules, those rules will set quite a high bar,” she said, adding that this high bar will affect American multinational corporations.
European action has also already caused the European Union and the U.S. to disagree, particularly over the EU’s planned Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), which could levy a tariff on imported goods from countries such as the U.S.