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Washington, D.C. May 2, 2019 – 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.