Fighting Back: “Climate change is an urgent problem and Democrats are united in our commitment to address it.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota who spoke about the climate crisis and the Democratic caucus committee established to address it.

(As many Republicans in Congress refuse to accept the facts about climate change, Senator Tina Smith (D-MN)—a member of Senate Democrats’ new Special Committee on the Climate Crisis announced Wednesday—delivers this week’s Weekly Democratic Address.)

“Recently, Democrats asked for a bipartisan Special Committee on the Climate Crisis. When Republicans refused, we forged ahead by appointing ten Democratic members to Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on Climate Change. I’m very happy to be one of the Senators. Our new committee will work together with colleagues in the House of Representatives. We will highlight how the climate crisis is harming the economic and national security interests of the United States, and we’ll set the stage for bold action on climate.”

“Now, climate change is an urgent problem. And we Democrats are united in agreement that:

1) climate change is real;

2) it’s caused by human activity; and

3) Congress should take immediate and bold action to address this challenge.

“These points should not be controversial. And the conclusion that climate change is an urgent problem is supported by an overwhelming weight of scientific evidence. Unfortunately, too many Republicans in Washington right now—and particularly our current President—refuse to accept these facts.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript: U.S. Senator Tina Smith Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“Hi, I am Tina Smith, Senator from Minnesota.

“Today, I want to talk with you about climate change.

“But before that, I’d like to briefly address the recent news about the Special Counsel’s investigation. In this great country, the government is ultimately accountable to the public, so it is essential that the American people have the opportunity to read the entire Mueller report, and evaluate the investigation’s findings for themselves.

“Our democratic principles demand transparency and accountability. Attorney General Barr must release the Mueller report in full.

“Now, climate change is an urgent problem. And we Democrats are united in agreement that:

1) climate change is real;

2) it’s caused by human activity; and

3) Congress should take immediate and bold action to address this challenge.

“These points should not be controversial. And the conclusion that climate change is an urgent problem is supported by an overwhelming weight of scientific evidence. Unfortunately, too many Republicans in Washington right now—and particularly our current President—refuse to accept these facts.

“We can’t respond to this crisis until both parties acknowledge that we have a crisis.

“Recently, Democrats asked for a bipartisan Special Committee on the Climate Crisis. When Republicans refused, we forged ahead by appointing ten Democratic members to Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on Climate Change. I’m very happy to be one of the Senators.

“Our new committee will work together with colleagues in the House of Representatives. We will highlight how the climate crisis is harming the economic and national security interests of the United States, and we’ll set the stage for bold action on climate.

“There was a time when Republican Senators were also leaders in calling for climate action.

“In the early 2000s, Senator John McCain of Arizona pushed a strong bipartisan plan to bring greenhouse gas emissions under control in our country. As recently as 2011, there were other ambitious, bipartisan plans in the Senate to tackle climate change.

“And then the Republican Party gave up on taking action. But the problem hasn’t gone away. Instead, it grows much worse.

“The good news is that young people are leading the way on this issue, and we need to listen to them.

“In the Senate, there are small signs of bipartisan progress. For example, there have been multiple bills to encourage carbon capture and storage technologies. One was signed into law just last year.

“This helps, but we need bigger and bolder actions as well. I’m working on legislation to establish a national clean electricity standard, an approach that had bipartisan support in the Senate as recently as 2011.

“In addition my Democratic colleagues are working on a range of actions, including renewable standards, cap and dividend proposals, and a carbon tax. Senators Tom Udall, Chris Van Hollen, Brian Schatz, and Sheldon Whitehouse lead those efforts. In addition, we should acknowledge that Senators Ed Markey and Jeff Merkley have long led bills to bring about comprehensive climate action. We need to get all the good ideas we can out on the table. And we need the Republicans to come with ideas of their own.

“Just this week, Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee proposed a “Manhattan Project for Clean Energy”, reviving an idea he pushed a decade ago, which would increase funding for energy research. This is promising.

“So let’s bring all the ideas to the table and take action on climate. Taking decisive action is good for our health, our environment, and our economy. America can either follow or lead on climate change. Democrats think we should lead.”

Any bolding has been added.

~

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference from Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Speaker Pelosi. Good morning, everyone. We had votes until now. Are you all gathered here for Ed O’Keefe’s birthday?

[Laughter]

Speaker Pelosi. Is that what this is about? Let’s just dwell on that for a while. Happy birthday. Happy birthday. Yes, Ed?

Q: So I get the first question.

Speaker Pelosi. All right. Okay. You can just block out Chad, you know.

[Laughter]

Speaker Pelosi. Anyway, good morning, everyone. As we’re coming to the end of March, Women’s History Month, I am very excited about how we observed it yesterday in the Statuary Hall. Yesterday, we had a beautiful, historic ceremony honoring women in STEM, science, technology, education, and math, by honoring the women who helped put a man on the moon: Christine Darden, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan.

What I said yesterday is it took ‘A‘ – making it STEAM, the arts – for the world to know about the ‘Hidden Figures,’ the book that was written, the movie that was made, the inspiration that they inspired. Maybe some of you were there.

It was very, very exciting for us in Women’s History Month to honor these hidden figures, African American women who had made such a big difference, not only with their mathematical brilliance only, but with their dignity, with their diplomacy, and how they got results.

I told one of my favorite stories, which you’ve heard me tell. A teacher says to a student, ‘What is 1 and 1?’ First grade. ‘2.’ ‘2 and 2?’ ‘4.’ The teacher says, ‘Good.’ The little boy says, ‘Not good, perfect. Perfect.’

And that’s what it was yesterday, just perfect, to be honoring them for their mathematical genius, but also the contribution they made to America’s success.

We also yesterday on the Floor of the House had great excitement, under the leadership of Rosa DeLauro, to pass the [Paycheck Fairness] Act. It’s very exciting for us. When we had the Majority before, we passed it in the House, couldn’t get 60 votes in the Senate. But now, here we are again, with social media helping us, with women very much more engaged.

So, on the Floor of the House yesterday, in a Congress that has over 100 women for the first time, and a Congress that will observe the 100th anniversary of women having the right to vote, under Rosa’s leadership, our godmother for all things, paid family leave, child care. You name it, Rosa is there.

But yesterday, equal pay for equal work, which is part of our For The People agenda. Lower health care costs by lowering cost of prescription drugs, bigger paychecks by building infrastructure in a green way, and here, having women have equal pay for equal work, and cleaner government.

Not even three months, just almost three months into our Majority, we have had introduction of bills, mark-ups of bills, passage of bills on the Floor. We’re very proud of our Democratic record.

And this week we took another step for the promise of health care for all Americans. That has been not for us an issue or legislation – it’s a value. It’s about the humanity of America.

And it is led by our Committee Chairs, our three Chairs, whom some of you saw introduce the bills earlier this week: Ways and Means, Richie Neal; Education and Labor, Bobby Scott; and Energy and Commerce, a big chunk of it, with Frank Pallone. Some of that legislation was marked up in committee yesterday.

But led by a Freshman and the Committee Chairs, we introduced – this is a long title – Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act. Very descriptive of our purpose.

It strengthens protections with people with pre-existing conditions by stopping insurance companies from swindling families with their junk plans, which the Administration thinks is a good idea; reverses GOP sabotage that needlessly spiked premiums and left more people uninsured; and takes new action to lower health care premiums by increasing subsidies and raising the threshold for eligibility for those subsidies.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, our bill would reduce premiums for more than 13 million Americans.

Unfortunately, in stark contrast, the Trump Administration radically expanded its war on America’s health care this week. Hard to explain, but who knows – asking the court to strike down every last provision of the Affordable Care Act: striking down protections against pre-existing conditions, striking down bans on lifetime limit and annual limits, striking down the Medicaid expansion, striking down tax subsidies that make health care affordable for more. And all would be ended if the President gets his way.

We will fight that. We will fight that in the Congress. We’ll fight it in the court. And we’ll fight it in the court of public opinion, as I’m fond of saying.

We stand ready to make health care better, to reach our goal of ever-expanding access to many more people, better quality, more affordable health care.

That’s why we called it the Affordable Care Act way back when, when we passed it. It didn’t have a gimmicky name. It just had a factual name, ‘Affordable,’ and that means accessible as well.

This week, we were happy to have Democrats honor the promise of For The People when we took bold action on climate crisis. We talked about building infrastructure of America in a green way. I do believe, as I said when I was Speaker before and continue to say, that climate crisis is the existential threat of our time, in terms of our priorities here.

The climate issue is a jobs issue. America must be preeminent in the world in advancing green technologies. It’s a public health issue. It’s about clean air, clean water and the safety of our environment for our children. It’s a national security issue, as has been made clear by national security experts again and again and currently.

And it’s a moral issue. If you believe, as I do, that this is God’s creation, we have a moral responsibility to be good stewards of it. But even if you don’t share that view, I think we all agree that we have a moral responsibility to future generations to pass on this planet in a responsible way.

Democrats’ H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now [Act], demands action, demanding America keep up our Paris agreements and demanding a plan from the Administration.

Mr. President, don’t walk away from the Paris Accord, as you have said you would, and let’s see what you have in mind instead.

In coming weeks and months, our Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, headed by Kathy Castor – she’s spectacular. She knows her subject. She has her enthusiasm for it. She’s seen her community suffer from the consequences of climate change. She’s been outstanding. And they organized, they’ve organized already. So, they’re going to have their first hearing next week. So stay tuned on there.

When I was Speaker before, we had the Select Committee on Climate, with Ed Markey chairing it. This time, it’s not only a Select Committee, but it is a Congress-wide agenda.

Every Chairman, look to your brief. See how you can, whether it’s in building the infrastructure in a green way, or whether it is building broadband in our country so that communication is improved, receiving people’s suggestions, especially young people, about climate. So, it is a Caucus wide effort, For The People.

What I wanted to say in closing is that – what would be the proper adjective, shameful, sad, irresponsible of the President of the United States and the Republicans on the Intelligence Committee to take the actions that they have. They’re just plain afraid. They’re afraid of the truth. They’re afraid of competence. They’re afraid of a leader who is recognized in our country for being calm, professional, patriotic.

I’m so proud of the work of Chairman Adam Schiff, in stark contrast to the irresponsible, almost criminal behavior of the previous Chair of the Committee.

So, what is the President afraid of? Is he afraid of the truth, that he would go after a Member, a Chairman of a Committee, a respected Chairman of a Committee in the Congress? I think they’re just scaredy cats. They just don’t know what to do, so they have to make an attack.

They did the wrong thing. The American people know that. It’s their own insecurity, their own fear of the truth, their fear of the facts, and their fear of an effective, patriotic leader, in his measured way, is going to make sure the American people know the truth.

Any questions? Birthday boy.

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

~

The House has introduced a new bill to short up the Affordable Care Act and guarantee protections for pre-existing conditions
Unveiling the Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions & Making Health Care More Affordable Act

Washington D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined House Democrats for a press event to unveil the Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions & Making Health Care More Affordable Act. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

What was really kind and full of good wishes was all the turn out this weekend that our friends in the groups put out to observe the nine years since the ACA was signed into law – delivering a pillar of health and economic security that stands alongside Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as pillars of economic and health security for America’s working families.

Last night, in federal court, the Justice Department of the Trump Administration – you’d think they have more to do – decided to not only try to destroy protections for pre-existing conditions, but to tear down every last benefit and protection the ACA affords.

The GOP will never stop trying to destroy the affordable health care of America’s families. I always think of Mr. Clyburn and John Lewis when they quote Martin Luther King, when he talks about, ‘of all the injustices, the most inhumane is the inequality of health care.’

And the Department of Justice becomes the Department of Injustice when it wants to tear down health care benefits. Because as Dr. King said, ‘people could die’ – people could die.

In this House, with a Democratic Majority, we’re here to strengthen those protections and lower health care costs further. Because this House, this Democratic House is For the People.

Today, under the leadership of our three distinguished Chairmen: Mr. Pallone of Energy and Commerce, Mr. Scott of Education and Labor, and Mr. Neal of Ways and Means Committee – the three Committees of jurisdiction, we’re going forward with the Protecting Pre-existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act.

More at the link.

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Investing in our future:
Pelosi Statement on 9th Anniversary of Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act

San Francisco – Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement in commemoration of the ninth anniversary of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act on March 30:

“Nine years ago, Democrats made the single largest investment in student aid in our nation’s history, reaffirming the fundamental truth that education is the best investment a nation can make in its children. For nearly a decade, the historic Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act has empowered students and families and ensured that all Americans can access the quality, affordable higher education necessary to succeed in the 21st Century economy.

“This landmark legislation has brought about transformative progress for millions of Americans seeking lifelong learning. By lowering the cost of student loans, strengthening community colleges, increasing the purchasing power of Pell Grants and investing in Minority Serving Institutions, Democrats honored our responsibility to millions of students and families while saving taxpayers billions of dollars.

“Today, under the stalwart leadership of Chairman Bobby Scott, the Education and Labor Committee is rewriting the Higher Education Act and reducing inequities in education. Democrats want to lower the rising cost of college by making Pell Grants more generous and flexible, help states reinvest in higher education and make student loans cheaper and easier to repay. By increasing access to pursue quality degrees and helping more students become graduates, Democrats are acting decisively For The People to strengthen our nation and put all Americans on the road to success.”

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  4 comments for “Fighting Back: “Climate change is an urgent problem and Democrats are united in our commitment to address it.”

  1. JanF
    March 30, 2019 at 9:22 am

    Pelosi Statement Announcing Vote on Resolution Condemning Trump Administration’s Legal Assault on Health Care

    San Francisco – Speaker Pelosi released this statement, announcing the House will vote next week on H. Res. 271, a resolution led by Congressman Colin Allred, condemning the Trump Administration’s legal campaign to take away Americans’ health care:

    “This week, the Trump Administration decided not only to try to destroy protections for Americans living with pre-existing conditions, but to declare all-out war on the health care of hard-working families across the country. The American people deserve to see exactly where their representatives stand on the Trump Administration’s vicious campaign to take away their health care.

    “On day one of this Congress, the Democratic majority voted to throw the full legal weight of the House of Representative against this cruel Republican lawsuit which threatens devastation in the lives of tens of millions of American families. We will continue to fight relentlessly to protect people with pre-existing conditions and lower health costs for American families, not take health care away.”

  2. JanF
    March 30, 2019 at 10:01 am

    From Nancy Pelosi’s presser (transcript in post):

    Q: Are you ready to accept that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians?

    Speaker Pelosi.
    In terms of this, this is a responsibility we have to uphold the Constitution. I have said and I’ll say again: ‘No thank you, Mr. Attorney General, we do not need your interpretation. Show us the report, and we can draw our own conclusions. We don’t need you interpreting for us.’ It was condescending, it was arrogant, and it wasn’t the right thing to do. So the sooner they can give us the information, the sooner we can all make a judgment about it.

    Let me just say again what I said to you before. And somebody thought I was joking when I said this. I’m deadly serious. If a foreign government comes to you and says they have information on your opponent, I say to any Member of Congress or person running for office, ‘You take that right to the FBI.’

    So for this report to say that there was no tacit cooperation, well, yeah, if they didn’t bring the information to the FBI, they were delinquent in their responsibilities.

    Lock Junior up!!

  3. bfitzinAR
    March 30, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    Thank you so very much for doing these. I appreciate the work you put into the Weekly Address and into the site in general. Not sure what I’d do at this point without the Moose Pond.

  4. JanF
    March 30, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    Here is a tweet with the text of Adam Schiff’s speech in the House Intel Committee last week.

Comments are closed.