Biden admin shifting ‘Climate Czar’ from State Dept to White House – Podesta will wield the power without the title & without a confirmation hearing
The Biden White House is moving to shift work of the “Climate Czar” from the State Department to the White House. John Podesta will now reportedly wield the power without the title and, most importantly, without a confirmation hearing…https://t.co/i4Zf0T1dXu
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) February 12, 2024
The Rasputin Effect: Biden Moves To Make Podesta the Climate Czar With A Crown… or a Confirmation
With the departure of John Kerry as “climate czar,” President Biden has announced that he will be replaced by John Podesta, a Democratic powerbroker and Washington insider.
Podesta, however, will take the power and not the title. He will be appointed as “coordinator,” thus sidestepping confirmation by the Senate, which could have been brutal.
Such action will shield Podesta from questions about Kerry’s work and expenses as climate czar. Before leaving office, Kerry refused to turn over information on his staff to Congress and the public. The Biden Administration is now being sued over the secrecy.
It would also spare Podesta from answering questions over his own past work as well as his brother’s ties to Chinese companies. Likewise, senators, including Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, have criticized Podesta for comments favoring payments to Chinese companies in the energy sector.
Sen. Josh Hawley objected that “John Podesta runs a think-tank funded by big tech, he’s spent years working for dark-money climate activists, and has said he has the ‘highest regard’ for CCP officials.”
Biden is not the first president to avoid confirmation fights. Former president Donald Trump often kept officials in “acting” capacities both to avoid confirmation as well as to make the termination of such officials easier.
It is not a good practice given the constitutional role that the Senate is supposed to play in the approval of high-ranking executive branch officials.
Worse yet, Congress expressly sought to guarantee that this position would remain subject to the confirmation process. In the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress mandated (and Biden agreed to) a prohibition from appointing any State Department special envoy “without the advice and consent of the Senate.”
That was important given the controversies over Kerry pledging sweeping changes to U.S. policy, including his assurance to world leaders that the Biden Administration was “phasing out” fossil fuels — a move that some view as ruinous economically.