Fighting Back: “We have the moral obligation to lead on climate change.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. Sean Casten of Illinois speaking about our moral obligation to lead on climate change and how Democrats are prepared to do so.

(Congressman Sean Casten discussed the upcoming Congressional Delegation to the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid and the importance of the United States’ leadership in addressing the climate crisis.)

[Under Republicans control], the United States has failed to bring that leadership to greenhouse gas emissions. Even worse, we have walked away from the international agreements that would do so.

“And while House Democrats joined together to pass H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act, sending a clear message that just like the thousands of localities, cities and U.S. companies, we are still in on the Paris Agreement, Senate Republicans and the President have met this historic effort with inaction and a resounding silence. That is not leadership. It is cowardice. […]

“The greatness of the United States – and our greatest gift to the world – is our leadership. We are not perfect, but since World War II there has been no greater advocate for equality, for the rule of law and for international peace than the United States.

“We have the ability – no, we have the moral obligation – to lead in this moment as well.

“The times have found us, and we will not shirk from our responsibilities. That will be our message to our allies in Madrid, and that is our charge moving forward. […]

“House Democrats will continue leading For The People: to lower health costs and prescription drug prices; to raise wages by rebuilding the infrastructure of America in a green, resilient, transformative way; and to clean up corruption to make Washington work for you.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript (from YouTube):

“Hi, I’m Congressman Sean Casten from Illinois’ 6th district.

“This weekend, I am proud to travel to Madrid, Spain, as part of a Congressional Delegation to the 25th United Nations Climate Change Conference. We will be there to represent the United States Congress and to send a clear message that we understand the existential threat that is the climate crisis.

“The climate crisis is the greatest test we have ever faced, but it is also an opportunity. “Atmospheric carbon dioxide pollution concentrations are already well above the 350 ppm level that – not that long ago – was understood to be the cap we had to stay under. Several feet of additional sea level rise are already guaranteed, and several tipping points have already been passed.

“In the final analysis, we will be judged not by our colleagues or even our voters, but by our grandchildren. We owe them a climate that is as stable as the one we inherited from those who came before us. That will require massive, coordinated, international action, and that is our test.

“But the climate crisis is also an opportunity. It is an opportunity because the biggest source of carbon pollution is burning fossil fuel, which costs money.

“Lowering carbon pollution saves money. Every solar panel, every electric vehicle, every reinsulated home represents a financial investment that also provides a more stable climate for our children. As Amory Lovins says people don’t want coal or oil. They want warm showers and cold beers.

“Every time we invest in projects to give us useful, clean energy with less purchased fuel input, we make ourselves wealthier and help our environment. That is our opportunity.

“In 1988, the United States ratified the Montreal Protocol, using market mechanisms to reduce ozone-destroying compounds. That was the direct result of leadership. Leadership from the Reagan and Bush administrations it should be noted.

“That idea was subsequently incorporated into the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act to lower acid-rain forming compounds. In both cases, we proved that economic and environmental policy can work in harmony with one another to avert environmental disaster.

“Unfortunately, the United States has failed to bring that leadership to greenhouse gas emissions. Even worse, we have walked away from the international agreements that would do so.

“And while House Democrats joined together to pass H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act, sending a clear message that just like the thousands of localities, cities and U.S. companies, we are still in on the Paris Agreement, Senate Republicans and the President have met this historic effort with inaction and a resounding silence. That is not leadership. It is cowardice.

“It is also dangerous. Half of all the carbon pollution we have ever emitted as a species has been released since 1988.

“Since the year we signed the Montreal Protocol. Since the year Bruce Springsteen played ‘Chimes of Freedom’ in front of a still-standing Berlin Wall. Since the year that James Hansen testified to the U.S. Senate that global warming was, in fact, already well-underway.

“But the greatness of the United States – and our greatest gift to the world – is our leadership. We are not perfect, but since World War II there has been no greater advocate for equality, for the rule of law and for international peace than the United States.

“We have the ability – no, we have the moral obligation – to lead in this moment as well.

“The times have found us, and we will not shirk from our responsibilities. That will be our message to our allies in Madrid, and that is our charge moving forward.

“House Democrats will continue leading For The People: to lower health costs and prescription drug prices; to raise wages by rebuilding the infrastructure of America in a green, resilient, transformative way; and to clean up corruption to make Washington work for you.

“With optimism, with patriotism, but with a fierce and unbending commitment to the urgency we face, we will lead.

“Thank you.”

Any bolding has been added.

~

Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a press conference following the return of the delegation from Madrid.
Transcript of Speaker Pelosi, Bicameral Congressional Delegation to COP25 Madrid Press Conference :

December 6, 2019
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a bicameral Congressional Delegation to Madrid, Spain for the 2019 United Nations Framework on Climate Change earlier this week. The bicameral delegation held a press conference today.

Full transcript at the link.

~

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

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Speaker Pelosi. Good morning, good morning. How are you?

Did you have a good Thanksgiving?

[Crosstalk]

Reporters. Yes.

Reporter. Are we going to have a good Christmas?

Speaker Pelosi. We will see. Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa. You know – holidays.

Our House Democrats came back from Thanksgiving having listened to our constituents and, again, working on our For The People agenda.

During the election of a year ago, we promised the For The People agenda, and part one of that was to lower the cost of health care for all Americans by lowering the cost of prescription drugs.

This week – next week we’ll be bringing to the Floor H.R. 3. It is the most transformative legislation to affect Medicare since Medicare’s founding. It helps all people though. It will – American seniors and families won’t have to pay more for medicines.

As you know – or as you probably know, it gives the Secretary the authority to negotiate for lower drug prices. It does so in a way that also enables prices in America to be more commensurate with the cost of the drug, as reflected in what is paid for overseas. So, we can go into that If you have more questions about it, but we are excited about H.R. 3.

This week, we will have H.R. 4 on the Floor. H.R. 4 is the Voting Rights Advancement Act. Since the Shelby decision, twenty – the Supreme Court decision on voting rights – 23 states have enacted voter suppression laws that deny millions of Americans their voice, their vote. Nearly 55 years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, we must protect the bedrock power of – the ability of people to have the right to vote. So, that will be on the Floor this week.

H.R. 3. H.R. 4. There is other legislation on the Floor. I hope that you observe it – one of it, to address the insider trading. That is coming up this week, as well.

And then, just to say, we have 275 bills – and, as I said to you: legislate, investigate, litigate. In our legislation, we have 275 bills that are bipartisan on Mitch McConnell’s desk. The ‘Grim Reaper’ says all we’re doing is impeachment. No, we have 275 bipartisan bills on your desk. Among them are background checks.

This week, as soon as we got back, we had a vigil – I have these; these are bullets, one from a survivor. Last night, we had a vigil, there were all this number of years since Newtown and every year we have this vigil. But, every day we pray that Mitch McConnell will pass that legislation because it will save lives. 25,000 people die – have died since we sent the bill over. Since we sent the bill over. Not all of them would have been saved, but many of them would have.

We have paycheck fairness for women – we have equal pay for equal work, paycheck fairness. Violence Against Women Act reauthorization. Issues that relate to raising the minimum wage, 30 plus million people will get increase in their pay if we raise the minimum wage, 23 million of them women. The Equality Act to discrimination against the LGBTQ community. [The Dream and] Promise Act, keeping our promise to our precious Dreamers. SAFE Act, saving our federal election system that they don’t seem to be interested in doing. The list goes on and on.

And the Climate Action Now, H.R. 9 – that was legislation that we talked about last weekend when I took a delegation, there were fourteen of us, to Spain for the COP25. We were very well-received there. Our message was, ‘We’re still in.’ Even though the President has opted out of Paris, the Paris Accord, but we are there saying in the House of Representatives, in statehouses, in governors’ mansions, in city halls across the country, in the private sector and in the public sector, Americans are still in.

Our children know better than some of the leaders in Washington, D.C. the urgency of the climate crisis. It is a public health issue: clean air, clean water, food safety. It is a jobs issue, an economic issue: jobs, jobs, job, good-paying green jobs. Keep America number one, preeminent in the green technologies. It is a defense issue, because of the world is in peril from the climate crisis.

If you [were] there, you would have heard very dire comments. A recent U.N. report explaining how close to a real problem we are. I mean, the clock is ticking. As you know, we have a great deal of exuberance in our Caucus on this subject and we want to work together, under leadership of Kathy Castor our Chair of the Select Committee on Climate, as well as our other committees of jurisdiction.

The last point I’ll make is that: if you do believe, as I, that this is God’s creation, we have a moral responsibility to be good stewards of it. If you don’t believe that it is God’s creation, you must agree that we have a moral responsibility to pass it on to future – the planet on to future generations.

So, that is legislate.

Investigate. As I’ve mentioned this morning, we’ve heard from patriotic public servants, some of them appointed by President Trump, present the facts and they are just undeniable; the facts of the President’s actions. I won’t go into it unless you ask. You heard yesterday, in the Judiciary Committee, the scholars present the Constitution and how the facts the Constitution give us no choice but to impeach – move forward with impeachment of the President.

And so I’ve arranged for the Chairs – we have six Chairs of all the committees to make recommendations about articles of impeachment.

Legislate, investigate, litigate.

We’re winning every court case, whether it’s Deutsche Bank for the President’s records, Mazars case for the President’s records – the list goes on, but they keep, they keep bumping it up to a higher court. Now some of it is approaching the Supreme Court level, and so we’re waiting to see if the Court will even take up something that is so in defiance of the precedence – precedent that says: yes, Congress has the right to subpoena and oversight over the Executive branch.

In that regard, I just want to say this to you my friends in the press: when you keep asking why don’t we wait for these court cases, the President’s actions in sending all these – taking these things to court and then bumping them up in court is an obstruction of justice. And so we’re not going to be accomplices to his obstruction of justice.

We have our constitutional responsibility. We have our facts, and we will act upon them.

And as the courts act – because we’re operating in the Congress and in the courts – and as the courts come forward with their decisions, whenever that may be, the President will have to be held accountable for that at that time.

Any questions?

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

Note: This viral moment from the presser came when a right-wing tool from Sinclair Broadcasting chose to propagate Trump’s talking point, that impeachment is born of hatred rather than a profound respect for the Constitution, for separation of powers and for making sure that no president thinks he is a king.

Speaker Pelosi. Thank you. [WALKS AWAY FROM LEAVES PODIUM]

Asshat from Trump Press, Sinclair division, Q: Do you hate the president, Madam Speaker? Speaker?

Speaker Pelosi. I don’t hate anybody. I don’t – I was raised in a Catholic house, we don’t hate anybody. Not anybody in the world. So don’t, don’t you accuse me of –

Same asshat Q: I did not accuse you.

Speaker Pelosi. You did. You did.

Q: I asked a question.

Speaker Pelosi. You did.

Q: Representative Collins yesterday suggested that the Democrats are doing this simply because they don’t like the guy –

Speaker Pelosi. That has nothing to do with it. Let me just say this.

Q: I think it’s an important point.

Speaker Pelosi. I think the President is a coward when it comes to helping our kids who are afraid of gun violence. I think he is cruel when he doesn’t deal with helping our Dreamers, of which we are very proud. I think he’s in denial about the – about the climate crisis. However, that’s about the election. That is about the election – take it up in the election.

This is about the Constitution of the United States and the facts that lead to the President’s violation of his oath of office.

And as a Catholic, I resent your using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me. I don’t hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is full of, a heart full of love and always pray for the President. And I still pray for the President. I pray for the President all the time.

So, don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that.

~

Speaker Pelosi’s announcement that articles of impeachment will be drawn up against Donald J. Trump.

Transcript: Pelosi Remarks Announcing House of Representatives Moving Forward with Articles of Impeachment

December 5, 2019
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks announcing that the House of Representatives will move forward with drafting articles of impeachment. Below are the Speaker’s remarks as delivered:

Speaker Pelosi. Good morning.

Let us begin where our Founders began in 1776: ‘When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…’

With those words, our Founders courageously began our Declaration of Independence from an oppressive monarch, for, among other grievances, the King’s refusal to follow rightfully-passed laws.

In the course of today’s events, it becomes necessary for us to address, among other grievances, the President’s failure to faithfully execute the law.

When crafting the Constitution, the Founders feared the return of a monarchy in America. And, having just fought a war of independence, they specifically feared the prospect of a king president corrupted by foreign influence.

During the Constitutional Convention, James Madison – the architect of the Constitution – warned that a President might ‘betray his trust to foreign powers… which might prove fatal to the republic.’

Another Founder, Gouverneur Morris, feared that a president ‘may be bribed by a greater interest to betray his trust.’ He emphasized that, ‘This Magistrate is not the King…The people are the King.’

They therefore created a constitutional remedy to protect against a dangerous or corrupt leader: impeachment.

Unless the Constitution contained an impeachment provision, one Founder warned, a president might ‘spare no efforts or means whatever to get himself re-elected.’

Similarly, George Mason insisted that a president who ‘procured his appointment in the first instance’ through improper and corrupt acts might ‘repeat his guilt’ and return to power.

During the debate over impeachment at the Constitutional Convention, George Mason asked: ‘Shall any man be above justice? Shall that man be above it who can commit the most extensive injustice?’

In his great wisdom, he knew that injustice committed by the President erodes the rule of law – the very idea that – of fair justice, which is the bedrock of our democracy.

And if we allow a president to be above the law, we do so surely at the peril of our republic.

In America, no one is above the law.

Over the past few weeks, through the Intelligence Committee working with the Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees, the American people have heard the testimony of truly patriotic career public servants, distinguished diplomats and decorated war heroes: some of the President’s own appointees.

The facts are uncontested: the President abused his power for his own personal, political benefit at the expense of our national security, by withholding military aid and a crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival.

Yesterday, the Judiciary Committee – at the Judiciary Committee, the American people heard testimony from leading American constitutional scholars who illuminated, without a doubt, that the President’s actions are a profound violation of the public trust.

The President’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution – especially when he says and acts upon the belief, ‘Article II says, I can do whatever I want.’

No. His wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our Constitution: a separation of powers, three co-equal branches, each a check and balance on the other; ‘a Republic, if we can keep it,’ said Benjamin Franklin.

Our Democracy is what is at stake. The President leaves us no choice but to act, because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit.

The President has engaged in abuse of power undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections.

His actions are in defiance of the vision of our Founders and the oath of office that he takes ‘to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’

Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our Founders and our hearts full of love for America, today, I am asking our Chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment.

I commend our Committee Chairs and our Members for their somber approach to actions which I wish the President had not made necessary.

In signing the Declaration of Independence, our Founders invoked a firm reliance on divine providence.

Democrats too are prayerful.

And we will proceed in a manner worthy of our oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic, so help us God.

Thank you.

~

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2 Comments

  1. It tells you everything you need to know about the Republican Party that only one Republican representative voted to advance a bill intended to stop disenfranchising millions of voters. Voting – the core of our democracy and the bane of Republicans whose policy positions are not popular and who can only win by restricting the vote to their base.
    Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of H.R. 4, Voting Rights Advancement Act

    Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, which passed on a 228 – 187 vote. This bill restores the full strength of the Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court’s Shelby v. Holder decision gutted the Act, unleashing a flood of voter suppression laws. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

    Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding, Mr. Nadler, the distinguished Chair of the Judiciary Committee. Thank you for your leadership in bringing this important opportunity for America to the Floor of the House today.

    I commend Congresswoman Terri Sewell for her tremendous leadership, the gentlewoman from Alabama, who knows this subject well, personally, geographically and officially now as a leading Member of the House of Representatives. Thank you for your leadership.

    I thank Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, holding field hearings from Alabama to Arizona on this urgent issue of voting rights. That scope of Alabama to Arizona is not alphabetically a big range, but geographically and experience-wise it is.

    And Congressman John Lewis, the Conscience of the Congress: what an honor it is for each and every one of us to serve with him, to call him colleague and many cases to call him friend. He is the civil rights hero of the House, whose Voter Empowerment Act was the backbone of H.R. 1, the For The People Act.

    Because there is some resistance on the side of the aisle here to our reducing the role of dark money in politics, which is a significant part of H.R. 1, we pulled out H.R. 4 as its own vehicle on the Floor.

    And I thank all the House Democrats who came to Congress committed to restoring the right to the ballot, reflected in the naming of the legislation ‘H.R. 4,’ one of our top priorities.

    I say Democrats, but it saddens me to hear the distinguished Ranking Member’s comments about this legislation and urging a no vote on the Republican side, because I was Leader when we passed the Voting Rights Act that this is – the court sent us back to the drawing board on.

    At that time, we had around 400 votes in the House of Representatives, upwards of 395. Four hundred votes, bipartisan, completely bipartisan vote to pass that bill. It was unanimous in the United States Senate, not partisan in any way.

    And that we have come to a place where the court said you need to do this or thus. We followed Justice Roberts’ guidance and now, with the improvements insisted upon by Justice Roberts, the Republicans have gone from being part of nearly 400-vote majority on the bill, to hopefully not being unanimously against it, but we’ll see.

    My colleagues, nearly 55 years ago, President Lyndon Johnson came to the House of Representatives. He came to this House, and on the House Floor, to urge passage of the Voting Rights Act, ‘for the dignity of man and the destiny of democracy.’

    He declared that, ‘This is the first nation in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose… all men are created equal.’

    ‘Those were not just words,’ he said, ‘In their name Americans have fought and died for two centuries. Those words were promised to every citizen that he shall share in the dignity of man.’

    He continued, ‘Our fathers believed that if this noble view of the rights of men were to flourish, it would be rooted in democracy, the right to choose your own leaders. The history of this country said in large measure, is the history of expansion of that right for – for all people.’

    Yet, a half century later, the constitutional right of all Americans to determine their leaders and destiny of our democracy is under grave assault from a brazen, nationwide voter suppression campaign.

    Since the Shelby v. Holder decision, 23 states, maybe more ­­– but at least 23 states have enacted voter suppression laws, including voter purges, strict ID requirements, poll closures, voter intimidation, denying millions their voice by their vote.

    The record compiled by the Committee shows that the counties with the worst histories of voter suppression doubled down on their discrimination during this time: purging 17 million voters from the rolls between 2016 and 2018 alone, primary people of color.

    Today the house is honoring our nation’s sacred pledge – ‘all are created equal’ – by passing H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act.

    This bill restores the Voting Rights Act’s strength to combat the clear resurgence of voter discrimination unleashed by Shelby by updating the data determining which states and practices are covered by the law.

    No longer will cynical politicians and states with dark histories of discrimination have the greenlight to freely continue their systemic suppression campaign.

    When President Johnson spoke on this Floor, he said, ‘There must be no delaying, no hesitation and no compromise with our purpose. We have already waited 100 years and more, and the time for waiting is gone.’

    Indeed, it took the courage and ultimate sacrifice of countless Americans, including our own John Lewis, to secure the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Honoring and strengthening that legacy is essential to our democracy. We want to be sure that everyone who is eligible to vote can vote and that that person’s vote is counted as cast.

    Today, the time for waiting is gone. We must pass this bill, which is a vote for civil rights, liberty and justice for all.

  2. Blessings on re-reading before posting. My thoughts are depressing and needed to be said somewhere to get them out of my brain – but not given the strength of the written word. So written, read, erased before posting. Blessings on our side for continuing the fight – even when it seems hopeless, it’s not as long as we keep fighting.

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