Fighting Back: “On the climate crisis, we simply don’t have any more time for denial or delay.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. Kathy Castor of Florida, chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, highlighting H.R. 9 the Climate Action Now Act.

(Congresswoman Castor highlighted the passage of H. R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act, which takes a bold first step to protect our planet by keeping us in the Paris Climate Agreement and laying the foundation for further innovative action.)

To address the climate crisis, we need to stop carbon pollution from accumulating in our atmosphere. That requires action. Urgent action. Ambitious action.

We simply don’t have any more time for denial or delay. An entire generation has grown up in a rapidly warming world and we are personally experiencing the harm. Scientists say it will get worse, unless we act.[…]

Despite what the Trump Administration says, we are still in the [Paris Climate Agreement]. We have not formally withdrawn. And if – and when – this bill becomes law, we never will. Because we need climate policy that works For The People, not well-connected corporate polluters in the Trump Administration.

That’s why we’re going to cut carbon pollution, protect the people and places we love, advance climate justice, and create a clean energy economy that works for everyone.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript: Congresswoman Kathy Castor Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“Hello, I’m Representative Kathy Castor from Florida, and I chair the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

“This week, the House passed the first major legislation to address the climate crisis in nearly 10 years. And it won’t be the last, because we are committed to passing climate legislation that works for The People, not the corporate polluters.

“The Climate Action Now Act is a straightforward bill I sponsored that prevents the Trump Administration from breaking America’s commitment and leaving the Paris Climate Agreement.

“We need to stay in this agreement because it was a major breakthrough. After years of finger-pointing, the United States, China, India, Europe and countries all around the world came together and agreed to cut carbon pollution dramatically.

“Support for the landmark agreement is overwhelming. A bipartisan group of 23 Governors, nearly 300 cities, and more than 2,000 businesses pledged to honor the Paris climate goals. Now they’ve been joined by the U.S. House of Representatives.

“But we know this is just a first step. To address the climate crisis, we need to stop carbon pollution from accumulating in our atmosphere. That requires action. Urgent action. Ambitious action.

“We simply don’t have any more time for denial or delay. An entire generation has grown up in a rapidly warming world and we are personally experiencing the harm. Scientists say it will get worse, unless we act.

“I know. A year and a half ago, I boarded up my home, packed my belongings and fled with my family as that monster Hurricane Irma loomed off the coast of Florida. We were petrified of a devastating storm surge from the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay.

“We were lucky because we had time to get out of the way.

“But for too many Americans, the climate crisis is inescapable.

“Seas are rising. America’s heartland and coasts have suffered unprecedented floods. Snowpack is shrinking and droughts are getting worse. Hot, humid heat waves are becoming more intense, with more days where people cannot safely work outside or play outside. And higher temperatures mean that other pollutants, like ground-level ozone from car exhaust are growing even more damaging to our health.

“The bottom line is that the climate crisis is costing us. It’s increasing the cost of our health care, our flood and fire insurance, and it’s making costly weather disasters even worse. So we need to cut carbon pollution for the people in our communities, and because we need to do it to create incredible economic opportunities.

“Already, more than 3.2 million Americans are working in clean energy jobs. We can do more and make those quality, family-sustaining jobs that are accessible to everyone.

“And we can save people money on energy. Efficiency standards will save us $2 trillion by 2030. And fuel economy standards for our cars are saving the average household $2,800 a year at the pump.

“I believe in American ingenuity and leadership. When America leads, people, countries and businesses across the globe are inspired to do more.

“But the Trump Administration has been a revolving door for powerful special interests in the fossil fuel lobby. That’s why the President said he wants to take us backwards and cut and run from our commitments.

“But America doesn’t cut and run. America keeps its commitments.

“So despite what the Trump Administration says, we are still in this agreement. We have not formally withdrawn. And if – and when – this bill becomes law, we never will. Because we need climate policy that works For The People, not well-connected corporate polluters in the Trump Administration.

“That’s why we’re going to cut carbon pollution, protect the people and places we love, advance climate justice, and create a clean energy economy that works for everyone.

“This is just the start of climate action in this Congress.”

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.

Well, yesterday was quite a day. I really lost sleep last night after watching over and over again the testimony of the Attorney General of the United States. How sad it is – how sad it is for us to see the top law enforcement officer in our country misrepresenting, withholding the truth from the Congress of the United States.

I think it’s really time that – as I watched him, I kept thinking, what could possibly be motivating the Attorney General of the United States to disrespect the Constitution of the United States, the separation of powers, the right of Congress to know? What possible motivation could the Attorney General of the United States have to dishonor the office that he holds by, right there for the whole world to see, to misrepresent the facts to the Congress of the United States?

And then it just – I began to connect the dots. We have Mitch McConnell, who in his fundraising pitches has described himself as the ‘grim reaper,’ the grim reaper for any legislation that comes over from the House that will go a Senate graveyard – calls himself the grim reaper.

Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, Attorney General Barr. There’s a connection. There is an ideological, anti‑government, anti‑science, anti‑meeting the needs of the American people.

So, when he was testifying and being so cavalier about Special Counsel Mueller, the Mueller report, and so disrespectful of Congress, I thought, this isn’t about President Donald Trump only. It’s about a right‑wing ideological handmaiden – they are handmaidens to the special interests in our country.

And it’s important to connect the dots, but the American people have to know what this means to them.

If you’re a young person, you care about the climate crisis. We’re passing that bill right now on the Floor, and I’m going to have to leave momentarily to vote for it. And that’s going to be dead on arrival in the Senate.

If you’re a young person, you care about net neutrality, freedom on the internet. The grim reaper is going to kill it in the Senate.

If you’re a woman, the Violence Against Women Act, equal pay for equal work that we sent over to the Senate, the grim reaper, Mitch McConnell, will kill it.

If you care about reducing the role of money in politics as H.R. 1 legislation, stopping the voter suppression and expanding the voice of the people in our political process, Mitch McConnell will kill it. Because he has said the problem is not too much money in politics, he says there’s not enough money in politics.

Our H.R. 1 is about expanding the voice of the people. Their H.R. 1 was giving 83 percent of the tax benefit to the top one percent. So, this is about policy.

It’s also about gun safety, gun safety. We sent over H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112 for responsible background checks. Handmaidens to the National Rifle Association and the special interests.

Connect the dots. When you see Barr sitting there, what’s his motivation? His motivation, his loyalty is not to his oath of the office, and it is to Donald Trump, but all of it and the Republicans in Congress is to the special interests.

So, whether it’s H.R. 1 or the gun safety, Paycheck Fairness, Violence Against Women, Save the Internet, Climate Action Now – the list goes on. And we will be sending more legislation.

But, apparently, I have news for Mitch McConnell: he may consider them dead on arrival and the grim reaper for all of these actions taken by the House of Representatives, but they’re alive and well among the American people. And there is a direct connection.

And, really, probably the biggest and saddest of all is, while the Attorney General was sitting there withholding the truth from Congress, misrepresenting, being inconsistent in his statements – the shame. How could he do such a thing?

But, again, having the support of the Republicans in Congress and the Senators behaving in a way that has said to them, ‘We don’t care about the branch of government in which we serve. We’re not even loyal to strengthening the institution of which we are a part.’

While he was sitting there, once again, his Justice Department was intensifying its assault on the Affordable Care Act. And they did their filing – their further filing – to get rid of the entire Affordable Care Act.

So, that’s what it means to people with pre‑existing conditions, his sitting there in that arrogance: ‘I don’t care about your pre‑existing condition. I care about the special interests in our country.’ That was the message from Barr.

So, the connecting of the dots between Mitch McConnell, the Republican agenda and Congress, such as it is – the special interest agenda fueled by dark special interest money, that’s what that hearing was about.

It wasn’t about technicalities. It wasn’t about who wrote the letter and how he characterized the letter. That’s interesting, but what is deadly serious about it is the Attorney General of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States. That’s a crime.

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

~

Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of the Climate Action Now Act

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act, a bill to protect our planet and our future by keeping us in the Paris Agreement, demanding a real plan from the Administration and laying the foundation for further innovative, effective action from the Congress. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much. I thank the – Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding. I commend him for his leadership.

This issue of infrastructure resiliency is so important. As we now discuss doing a major infrastructure legislation to rebuild America in a way that is making it safer and promoting commerce and improving the quality of life by decreasing the amount of time people have to spend in their cars, by increasing broadband and all of the things that enable people in our – whether it’s health care, education or commerce – the infrastructure is so central to that.

When we talk about infrastructure, we have to talk about resiliency. And when we talk about climate change, we have to talk about infrastructure. So, this is a very important amendment, and I rise to support it, and I thank the gentleman for sharing his New Jersey experience, in terms of the need for resiliency, in this very wise amendment.

I also want to rise in support of H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act. I commend Chairwoman Kathy Castor, who is the Chair of our Select Committee on this subject of climate and also the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Engel, for his leadership on this important issue, which is under the jurisdiction of his committee.

They bring vision. They bring values. They bring the voices of Members and the American people to make a difference.

We thank you, our Members – our Freshmen Members in particular, who carried out the priorities in the communities to Congress to demand climate action now, and I think it’s very appropriate that the gentleman in the Chair is on the Committee – the Select Committee on Climate – and has been a leader in the private sector, now in the public sector, on this important issue as we go forward.

It’s time, Mr. Speaker, to end denial about this and start listening to the facts. This is about science, science, science.

There is an overwhelming number – 86 percent of Americans know this is a crisis. They know that human behavior has an impact on it and they want us to act. It is from our communities – we all have stories.

One of my constituents wrote, ‘My daughter’s developed asthma. It wrenches me to see her used as a canary in a coal mine. We’re literally choking on the denial and inaction.’

Another writes, ‘Green jobs are guaranteed. Local jobs will put people to work. Survival is now poised to become viable in the economic sector.’

Let me just say this, this is about jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. It’s very important for our country to be preeminent in the world on the green technologies and this legislation is in recognition of that.

It’s about public health, about clean air and clean water – the air our children breathe, the water they drink – and it’s about environmental justice in that regard as well. All children will be able to live in a safe, clean environment in which they can thrive.

It’s about our national security. Over and over again, the national security experts – generals, admirals, experts – have come to us and said that this is a global security issue because of what the impact climate change and the crisis is doing to the use of water and access to food, and how natural disasters affect migration and also how that can lead to some initiation of hostilities among people. It is a national security issue in terms of how we use our resources for our national security as well.

And it is a moral issue. If you believe, as do I and so many Evangelical communities, that this planet is God’s creation and we have a moral responsibility to be good stewards of it, then you would be sure to be a good steward and sign up for Climate Action Now.

But even if you don’t share that religious belief, we all know that we have a moral responsibility to the next generation to pass this planet on in a better way than we found it, in a very responsible, responsible way.

So, it is – we must take action. The bill demands action now, keeping us in the [Paris Agreement] – as the only international agreement dedicated to ending the climate crisis – and demanding a plan from the Administration for – a plan for action for the Administration.

As Mr. Kim put forth today, that plan should recognize infrastructure resiliency as the Administration comes forward.

It sends a signal to the world that the U.S. isn’t in denial about the overwhelming science about climate, but this bill is a step in the right direction.

The Select Committee on Climate Crisis and the committees of jurisdiction – we have the Select Committee, and I’m very proud of the work that it’s doing, but it is a task for every committee of the Congress to look at the jurisdiction of the committee and to see how, in terms of jobs, public health, national security and, again, our moral responsibility to our children and future generations.

It’s everybody’s responsibility in the Congress. It’s a Congress-wide responsibility that I do thank the Select Committee for the focus that it is placing on all of this, and we will be able to accommodate so many entrepreneurial ideas, new thinking on the subject, being current on the data and on the science.

So, we have a tremendous generational opportunity and responsibility.

I thank all who are involved in this for their extraordinary leadership. Anyone who cares about our planet, our children’s future, is deeply in debt to those of you who have taken the lead of it.

Under President Bush’s leadership, when he was President and we had our Select Committee then, we passed the biggest energy bill in history. While everyone was not in agreement on the climate crisis, we all agreed that we had to take action.

President Bush signed the bill. A big ceremony. It was the equivalent of taking tens of millions of cars off the road and how we raise the emission standards. It was important.

That legislation was the basis for many of the executive actions that President Obama was able to take under the authority of that legislation. So, that was – that was very important, and it was bipartisan.

Hopefully we can be bipartisan as we go forward for the big steps that we have to take.

Technology has come a long way since then. Science informs us better. Current events have made it very clear, we have an imperative to have climate action now.

I, again, urge our colleagues to vote for Mr. Kim’s Amendment, for H.R. 9 and yield back the balance of my time.

~

Pelosi Statement on the Trump Administration’s New Refusals of Care and Anti-LGBTQ Rules

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement on the Trump Administration’s two new rules: a finalized rule allowing health care workers, pharmacies, insurance plans, and hospitals to refuse to provide care based on a personal belief, opening the door to widespread discrimination in health care, and a second expected rule denying transgender Americans their rightful civil rights protections under the ACA.

“These bigoted rules are immoral, deeply discriminatory and downright deadly, greenlighting open discrimination in health care against LGTBQ Americans and directly threatening the well-being of millions. Make no mistake: this is an open license to discriminate against Americans who already face serious, systemic discrimination.

“Since Day One, this Administration has waged a cruel campaign of intolerance and discrimination targeting the civil rights of our most vulnerable communities. House Democrats fully, flatly reject these attacks on LGBTQ Americans and on the rights of all Americans to get the health care they need and will fight these hateful actions.”

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  2 comments for “Fighting Back: “On the climate crisis, we simply don’t have any more time for denial or delay.”

  1. JanF
    May 4, 2019 at 8:49 am

    From Thursday’s presser, Speaker Pelosi on holding Attorney General Barr accountable:

    Q: Madam Speaker, did the Attorney General commit a crime?

    Speaker Pelosi. He lied to Congress. He lied to Congress. And if anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime.

    Nobody is above the law, not the President of the United States and not the Attorney General. Being the Attorney General does not give you a [pass] to go say whatever you want and it is the fact because you are the Attorney General. It just isn’t true.

    Q: Should he go to jail? Should he go to jail for it?

    Speaker Pelosi. There’s a process involved here. And as I said – I’ll say it again and however many questions you may have – the Committee will act upon how we will proceed.

    Q: Speaker Pelosi, last week, you had said that you wanted your Caucus to focus on the investigations that are already ongoing. Given the fact that you can’t get information, given the fact there has been this unprecedented obstruction from the White House, do you think that the time has come to move that impeachment deadline up?

    Speaker Pelosi. No, I think that – I think that the statements being made by the President of the United States has given a blanket statement that he’s not going to honor any subpoenas is obstruction of justice. I think that many of the statements that the Administration has made have been about obstruction of justice.

    We are in a very, very, very challenging place because we have a Republican Party in the Congress who are complicit in the special interest agenda of the National Rifle Association, the fossil fuel industry, the special interests writ large. And so, they’re not going to say anything.

    So, that’s why I say sometimes, impeachment is the easy way out for some of these people because they know it will end at the Senate’s edge. But, the fact is, is that we still have that responsibility.

    Until impeachment won’t “end at the Senate’s edge”, House Democrats will need to proceed carefully. Investigate, hold hearings, gather evidence, work to gain public approval – and let that take you where it will.

  2. bfitzinAR
    May 4, 2019 at 10:26 am

    The Rs think they’re James Bond – with a license to kill. The GOP is genocidal and has been to my personal knowledge for the last 50 years. They are also so incredibly short-sighted it would be jaw-dropping if one weren’t aware of how evil they are. Evil is “I want what I want when I want it – and I don’t care what the impact is”. So. We’ve got to take back Congress to stop the damage. We’ve got to have Congress and the White House to start repairing it. And we’ve got to, somehow, get the Judiciary back if we are to sustain the repairs.

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