Fighting Back: “Senate Republicans are blocking bold climate change actions.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon speaking about climate change and the inaction of Senate Republicans.

“So the challenge is immediate and severe. If we do nothing, we condemn our children and grandchildren to suffer greater and greater difficulties. So we have to act, moving boldly and urgently to cut carbon pollution through energy conservation and renewable energy,” said Senator Merkley. “Unfortunately, opposition from Senate Republicans has blocked bold climate action in Congress. Under Mitch McConnell’s leadership, the Senate has become a legislative graveyard for climate action. But local governments have been fortunately stepping up to help meet the challenge…To learn more, Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis invited mayors from five cities across America, including Portland, Oregon to testify this week about how they are rising to the challenge. They shared valuable information that we hope other cities and local governments will keep in mind as they draft their own climate goals and legislation.”

No transcript was made available but closed captions at the CSPAN link may provide some text.

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

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Speaker Pelosi. Good afternoon. Good afternoon.

Yesterday, our country lost a giant of the Court and a clarion voice for justice, equality and the rule of law, Justice John Paul Stevens.

Justice Stevens was a true guardian of the Constitution. He made history not only as [one of] the longest serving justice[s], but as one of its finest. Our country mourns his loss.

He will be lying in state Monday. The service will be Tuesday. And again, it is a great loss to our country.

Last night, I had a particular pleasant experience, which was to sign the legislation which enabled us to use the Washington Monument as a background for the moon launch. Pretty exciting. I hope everyone will take advantage of observing that as we observe that historic event in our country’s – the world’s history. It is pretty exciting.

So, here we are. As you know, we campaigned on the For The People agenda: lowering health care costs, bigger paychecks, cleaner government. And to that end of bigger paychecks, this week we will have three bills on the Floor.

Raising the minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage. It will increase wages for up to 33 million workers and lift 1.3 million Americans out of poverty.

It would help secure fairness and equality for women, many of whom will be the beneficiaries of this, giving nearly 20 million working women a raise and help narrow the gender gap, the wage gap that disproportionately impacts women.

We are also proud to pass this bill tomorrow on the anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention, which America declared that all men and women were created equal.

We are also continuing to deliver our promises to workers. Today, we will honor our promise to the hard-working men and women of labor as we lift the Cadillac Tax, protecting health benefits that workers have negotiated.

And next week, the House will move to pass the Butch Lewis Act, ensuring that millions of Americans will receive the retirement and benefit securities they have earned.

We are very pleased at the outcome of all of the back-and-forth on the Census, proud of the testimony our House Counsel made before the Supreme Court, because the Census is a pillar of our democracy, enshrined in our sacred Constitution to ensure that we are all equally counted and represented.

And so, we will continue to follow the facts and hold the Administration accountable for the policy decisions. This is not about partisanship, it is about patriotism. And now, having instilled fear, hopefully we can allay that fear by having people sign up for the Census.

As we approach the 200-day mark of our transformative Majority, which is coming up soon, House Democrats will build on the bold promise we have made on our For The People agenda.

We talked about lower health costs by preserving the prescription drug benefit – lowering the prescription drugs and preserving the pre-existing condition benefit. And some of that legislation will be coming up next week.

Raise workers’ wages. I talked about that.

Reduce the role of big dark money in Washington, H.R. 1. But part of H.R. 1 we have divided into parts, to save our federal elections, the Voting Rights Act and the rest, and we are hoping to get some of these passed discretely.

As you know, Senator McConnell has called himself the ‘Grim Reaper’. We have news for him. As I have said before, these bills are alive and well with the public. And public opinion, as Lincoln has said, can make almost anything happen. So, we look forward to that.

Questions?

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

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Pelosi Statement on Trump Administration Cruel, Illegal New Asylum Restrictions

July 15, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement on the Trump Administration’s new asylum rule, which creates unprecedented and impossible hurdles for families seeking asylum and clearly violates the Immigration and Nationality Act:

“The President is devastating lives, dishonoring our values and departing from decades of precedent and law in his haste to destroy the lifeline of asylum in America. This cruel new asylum rule perfectly showcases the Administration’s utter disdain and disregard for immigrant communities and communities of color.

“This asylum rule is a clear abdication of American humanitarianism. Since Day One, the Administration has turned its back on generations of Republican and Democratic leadership, which has long recognized that the lifeline of asylum is central to our nation’s values, history and future. As the American Association of Evangelicals has testified, America’s commitment to opening our doors to those in need is the ‘crown jewel of American humanitarianism.’

“The Administration has clearly overreached their authority and violated the law with these restrictions, which will be swiftly and successfully challenged in the courts. The Democratic House will always stand firm against attacks on immigrants, and will continue to call on the White House to join us to support smart, effective immigration policies that honor our values and keep families together and safe.”

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The House passed the Raise the Wage Act this past week. here is Speaker Pelosi’s floor speech in support of the bill:

July 18, 2019

Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding. I thank him for his extraordinary leadership, historic, really, giving us this opportunity today to do something very special for the American people, for America’s working families.

This is an historic day. Yes, because we are raising the minimum wage here in the House of Representatives, because we are channeling the energy of so many people across the country for fairness in the workplace, but it also happens to be the 171st anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention.

The Seneca Falls Convention shook the world when they had that convention with the simple proclamation that all men and women are created equal. This bill achieves that equality, giving nearly 20 million working women, that is nearly one-third of all working women, a raise, and it helps narrow the gender wage gap that disproportionately targets women of color, putting more money in the pockets of more than one-third of working women of color.

So today, we wake up for a day of jubilation because of the sense of fairness this legislation engenders. We wake up with a smile on our face, showing the world with all the love in our hearts and that love in our hearts is about fairness for the American people.

It is interesting to note, Mr. Chairman, that as has been acknowledged, I just heard Congressman Levin mention, and others as well, that it has been ten years since the federal minimum wage was raised, in the previous Democratic Majority, and had been eleven years before then when we passed it in 2007. And it was signed by, it was signed by President Bush. So, it was bipartisan and we were thrilled about that.

But it is interesting to see what has happened in the time since then. While families work hard to make ends meet, the cost of living has surged to unsustainable highs, inflation has eaten nearly twenty percent of their wages and the GOP special interest agenda has left them far behind.

I have mentioned that this is about equality for women. It is also about 30 million people in our country getting a raise. 30 million people. And so many people being lifted out of poverty.

I talked about ’07. That is when we passed it first in the House. It took a little more time for it to be law, going through the Senate and the rest.

But when we passed it, and we were so thrilled, knowing that the President would sign it, we had a big rally on the – outside the Capitol. And as soon as the rally was finished, Senator Ted Kennedy, who had been a really important part of the Senate action on the raising the minimum wage, he said, ‘You know what we have to do now? We have to raise the minimum wage.’

We always have to be anticipating and injecting fairness all the time. We must never stop fighting to honor the dignity of work and push forward for working families and women, again, affected so drastically in all of this.

The American workers deserve a raise. No one can live with dignity on a $7.25 per hour wage. Can you?

The Raise The Wage Act honors workers, supports families, as I say, giving 33 million Americans a long overdue raise, and lifting many out of poverty. The bill grows our economy and increases families’ purchasing power and drives economic growth that lifts up all communities. Consumer confidence of America’s working families is an important element in growing our economy. And it brings our country, our democracy, closer to the founding ideals of holding the bedrock idea of fairness in our country, that hard work deserves a decent wage.

I urge strong bipartisan vote for this victory for working families and for America, because every Member of this institution should be fighting to put more money in the pockets of workers in their communities.

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Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of Resolution Condemning President Trump’s Racist Comments Directed at Members of Congress

July 16, 2019

Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding. I thank him for his leadership in so many ways in this Congress. Mr. Nadler, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I commend Mr. Malinowski and Mr. Raskin for bringing this important resolution to the Floor.

Mr. Speaker, I come to this Floor prayerfully. It is really very, very sad. It was interesting to me, and I spoke out about this, that on Sunday in Catholic Masses, and I don’t know beyond that, that the Gospel of the day was the Gospel of the Good Samaritan.

A person asked Jesus, ‘What do I have to do to enter the kingdom of heaven?’ And Christ replied, ‘Love thy neighbor as thy self. Show mercy.’

That very same day – oh, and then went on to talk – and then he said, ‘Well, how do I do this?’ And Jesus gave him the example of the Good Samaritan.

Everyone is familiar with how a stranger helped another stranger, a foreigner helped another foreigner. The Good Samaritan.

‘Love thy neighbor as thy self. Show mercy.’

On that very same day, coincidentally, ironically, sadly – whatever adverb you want to use – the President was instituting raids into the homes of families.

I went to Spanish Mass this weekend and saw the dignity of those families, the beauty of the children and the fear that the President had struck in their hearts as we were listening to the Gospel of the Good Samaritan, to show mercy and love thy neighbor as thyself.

That very same day, unfortunately, there were those who were not informed by that Gospel. And so here we are later in that day – It was stunning to hear the words that were used – ‘Go home’ – to some of our colleagues. The same words that were used to so many people in our country, whether because they weren’t born here or because they didn’t look like some others here: ‘Go home.’

As annoyed and insulted as we all should be about the President saying this about our colleagues, it is also not showing mercy for him to say that about so many people in our country as he wants to split up families.

So I thank Mr. Malinowski, Mr. Raskin for the opportunity to speak to the statements that the President made later in the day of the gospel of the Good Samaritan. Mr. Malinowski was born abroad. Mr. Raskin, for his firm leadership in advancing this important resolution.

The House, hopefully, has come together, standing as one, to denounce the White House’s xenophobic attacks on our Members, on our people, and to defend the values of America.

And what is America? America is many things. The land of a great Constitution, which is under threat. A beautiful land that God has given us, which is being degraded. Values that we share that are being undermined. But America is also a nation largely, but not totally, largely of immigrants.

As this Resolution so beautifully states, ‘The Founders conceived America as a haven for refuge, for people fleeing from religious and political persecution and Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison’ – having opposite views on other subjects – ‘all emphasized that the nation gained as it attracted new people in search of freedom and livelihood for their families.’

The resolution quotes our most iconic Presidents who all recognize that immigrants are the constant reinvigoration of America; of hope, determination, optimism, and courage to make the future better. Those are American values. Those are American traits – hope, optimism, courage, and many of these immigrants, when they come here with those values and those traits make America more American.

Franklin Roosevelt said, ‘Remember always that all of us and you and I especially are descendants from immigrants.’

President John F. Kennedy, who wrote that, ‘The contribution of immigrants can be seen in every aspect of our national life.’

And President Ronald Reagan, he said it so beautifully in his last speech as President of the United States which is quoted in this resolution, who said, ‘If we ever close the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost.’

Yet, the President’s comments about our colleagues this weekend show that he does not share those American values. These comments from the White House are disgraceful and disgusting, and those comments are racist.

How shameful to hear him continue to defend those offensive words. Words that we have all heard him repeat, not only about our Members, but about countless others.

Our Caucus will continue to forcefully respond to those attacks on our Members, which reflect a fundamental disrespect for the beautiful diversity of America.

There is no place anywhere for the President’s words, which are not only divisive but dangerous, and have ‘legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.’

It’s so sad because you would think that there would be a given that we would universally in this body just say, of course, of course, and there is no excuse for any response to those words but a swift and strong unified condemnation.

Every single Member of this institution, Democratic and Republican, should join us in condemning the President’s racist tweets. To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office to protect the American people. I urge a unanimous vote and yield back the balance of my time.

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  2 comments for “Fighting Back: “Senate Republicans are blocking bold climate change actions.”

  1. JanF
    July 20, 2019 at 8:15 am

    2020 will be like 2018: the issue that voters most care about is health care. Only Democrats have plans that will protect the care we have while expanding coverage and lowering costs.

    Pelosi Statement on Court Ruling Enabling Trump’s Junk Health Plans

    July 19, 2019

    “At every turn, the Trump Administration is working to dismantle protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

    While the GOP tries to push families into junk health insurance plans and crushing medical bills, Democrats are hard at work to protect the health care of hard-working Americans. This summer, House Democrats passed the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act to block the Trump Administration’s cynical expansion of junk health plans.

    “The GOP Senate must act on this bill to protect and strengthen the health care of the American people. Families need lower health costs and prescription drug prices, not fewer protections and bigger medical bills.”

  2. bfitzinAR
    July 20, 2019 at 10:20 am

    Senate’s blocking everything so they can label us a “do nothing Congress” – a ploy that has worked before. We shall see whether or not it will work again. But McConnell doing it, not bringing stuff to the floor to be voted down, gives cover to all those Rs running for re-election. They won’t have votes we can run against, a record we can run against, because McConnell didn’t allow the votes to happen. This hasn’t been successfully tried before that I know of (I could easily be wrong) and I hope to heaven it isn’t successful this time either.

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