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WH press secretary crashes and burns when confronted over Biden's latest use of Defense Production Act: 'What's the real emergency?'

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Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stumbled on Monday when she was pressed to explain why President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act for "clean energy" manufacturing.

What did Biden do?

On Monday, Biden authorized the Department of Energy to use the DPA to "rapidly expand" American manufacturing of solar panel components, building insulation, heat pumps, "equipment for making and using clean electricity-generated fuels," and power grid infrastructure.

Biden has invoked the DPA many times as president, invoking charges of abuse of power. Biden has used the DPA for the COVID-19 pandemic, materials used in the production of electric vehicle batteries, and the baby formula shortage.

The latest authorization does not explain how Biden's action bolsters national security.

What happened with Jean-Pierre?

At the daily press briefing, Fox Business reporter Edward Lawrence pressed Jean-Pierre about the rationale for Biden once again invoking the DPA.

"What emergency is the president using to invoke the Defense Production Act?" Lawrence asked. "What's the real emergency in the solar industry for the Defense Production Act?"

Jean-Pierre responded with a vague platitude.

"Let me — I was going to say, first, the president — you know, when he takes the Defense Production Act, it’s to make sure that he’s delivering for the American people. It is an important tool that he has used a couple of times, and it has been incredibly effective," she said before essentially recycling the White House's announcement.

06/06/22: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre youtu.be

"But what’s the emergency in the solar industry?" Lawrence pressed.

In response, Jean-Pierre admitted that Biden is using the DPA to enact his climate agenda.

"Well, this is just a step to get to a place where we do have a clean energy arsenal. And so, this is a very important part of the president’s agenda in getting to that clean energy system that he’s been talking about since he walked into the administration," Jean-Pierre admitted.

"So, this is that, and this a way that we felt that we can act to get moving in that way," she continued.

Jean-Pierre, however, never explained what emergency makes the newest DPA authorization necessary.

Later in the briefing, Jean-Pierre was asked how Biden's DPA authorization is "not a gift to Chinese solar manufacturers, many of whom operate with forced labor and are subsidized by the Chinese Communist Party?"

Jean-Pierre responded that the DPA authorization does not "apply to any materials imported from China."

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