In May 2021 President Biden signed an executive order [pdf] requiring federal agencies to make climate change and helping “disadvantaged communities and communities of color” a major priority in all their work.
That executive order, which in many was was simply a rewording of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s communist and bigoted Green New Deal, required agencies to do things like reconsider where their pension funds were invested and to change those investments — not to get the best return on the dollar as required by law — but to protect them from “the threats of climate-related financial risk.”
The executive order also demanded that the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FARC) require federal contractors to:
…publicly disclose greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related financial risk and to set science-based reduction targets; and (ii) ensure that major Federal agency procurements minimize the risk of climate change, including requiring the social cost of greenhouse gas emissions to be considered in procurement decisions and, where appropriate and feasible, give preference to bids and proposals from suppliers with a lower social cost of greenhouse gas emissions. [emphasis mine]
Such a regulation would apply to contracts issued by NASA to companies like SpaceX, and would almost certainly hinder their efforts while forcing them to advocate in favor of social political movements they might not agree with. For example, the language of the order makes it clear that it wants contractors to favor minorities and those “disadvantaged communities.” To do so would violate many civil rights acts, yet if these contractors refuse to do so the order will consider them “nonresponsible” and ineligible for federal contracts.
The attorneys general of twenty-two states have now sent the Biden administration a letter [pdf] protesting these regulatory changes, noting that not only is it not legal for Biden to change these contracting rules by executive order (they are established by laws passed by Congress), it is also a violation of the first amendment rights of contractors to force them to advocate specific political positions. As noted in the press release issued by the AGs:….
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