Republicans Denounce Biden's Use of Executive Action to Launch Climate Corps

Speaker McCarthy says the move 'holds no merit' while others call it the wrong approach and 'a waste of taxpayer dollars.'
Republicans Denounce Biden's Use of Executive Action to Launch Climate Corps
President Joe Biden salutes the audience after speaking about investments in conservation and protecting natural resources at Red Butte Airfield, Ariz., on Aug. 8, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Savannah Hulsey Pointer
Jackson Richman

House Republicans pushed back against President Joe Biden's recently announced American Climate Corps, saying the administration should work through the legislative process, not executive orders, as was done for this project.

The Biden administration issued a press release on Sept. 20 to introduce their American Climate Corps, a workforce training and service initiative designed to prepare young people for careers in green energy and conservation.

"Today, through his Investing in America agenda, President Biden is delivering on that commitment by taking executive action to launch the American Climate Corps," the release stated.

This initiative, announced as part of the Investing in America agenda, aims to train more than 20,000 young Americans in climate-related skills, creating pathways to high-quality jobs in the clean energy and climate resilience sectors. Under the American Climate Corps, participants will engage in a range of projects addressing climate change, such as coastal wetlands restoration, clean energy deployment, forest management, energy-efficient solutions, and more.

"Today, I'm taking executive action to launch the American Climate Corps—a workforce initiative that will train over 20,000 young people for good-paying jobs in the clean energy and climate resilience economy," President Biden said in a statement posted to X, formerly Twitter.

Republican Response

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) responded to the news, telling The Epoch Times that he doesn't feel the president's executive actions "hold any merit."

"I think if you really want to do something, you push something on the floor," Mr. McCarthy said of the order.

Similarly, Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) said that while he does support working on climate issues, he doesn't think the president's approach is the correct one.

"I think it's another example of how if you can't get things done through legislation, he's going to be very apt to do things through executive orders and rulings," Mr. Braun said. " I'm a Republican that believes we need to be in the discussion on climate in general. Just not the craziness of what they propose and how they weaponize agencies to get their point of view across."

Rep . Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.) also responded, telling The Epoch Times that he considers the initiative to be "unnecessary," and " a waste of taxpayer dollars."

"The whole thing about somehow we were facing this unbelievable crisis? I don't believe it," Mr. Gimenez said. "Do we need to clean up? Yeah, but I think we can do it in a much better way that doesn't threaten America's economy and threaten the lives of people around the world."

Shortly after the news broke, 2024 Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis released a portion of a speech on X, along with comments, stating, "As your President, I will restore our Freedom to Fuel—starting on January 20, 2025. I will ensure the United States of America is the most dominant energy producer in the world."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) lauded the administration's program, saying in a statement posted to X, "Thanks to the hard work of youth activists across the country, President Biden just announced he’s creating an American Climate Corps. I’ve pushed hard for this. A new climate corps will help create pathways to good-paying green jobs!"
Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee also offered support on social media, pointing to the connection between the program and the hard-won Inflation Reduction Act, saying, "The new, green economy, spurred by the Inflation Reduction Act, is unlocking the full potential of our workers, and the American Climate Corps will help young people access these good-paying jobs."
Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.) also backed the news from the White House, saying on X, "The announcement of the American Climate Corps marks a monumental step forward in our fight against climate change. A new wave of young environmental champions will be mobilized to create a sustainable, livable future for all while enriching our economy."

Program Details

These paid training programs will serve as preparation for employment opportunities in both the public and private sectors without the requirement of prior experience for most positions, according to the White House press release.

The fact sheet also outlined the program's focus on equity and environmental justice and its plan to prioritize underserved communities. The order aligns with the administration's Justice40 Initiative and "directs 40 percent of the benefits from key federal investments to disadvantaged communities."

Several states, including California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, and Washington, have initiated their own climate corps programs. Five more states, namely Arizona, Utah, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Maryland, are launching state-based climate corps programs funded through public-private partnerships, collaborating with the American Climate Corps to provide nationwide opportunities for young people to engage in climate projects.

This announcement builds upon nearly $500 million in investments by the Biden administration, emphasizing expanding pathways to union jobs, including those in clean energy and climate-related fields, with a focus on Registered Apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship programs.

The Department of Labor has granted funds to programs educating and training youth in green initiatives, and the Department of Energy will provide grants for career skills training programs focused on energy-efficient technologies.

To address the ongoing wildfire crisis, the U.S. Forest Service has introduced the Forest Corps, an interagency partnership under the American Climate Corps, engaging young adults in wildland fire prevention, reforestation, and other natural and cultural resource management projects.

Further, the Department of the Interior expands the Indian Youth Service Corps and related programs to support conservation.