A picture of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Sheldon W.
Democrat RI

About Sen. Sheldon
  • Hire More Heroes Act of 2015—Continued

    by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

    Posted on 2015-07-29

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    WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, let me take a moment to commend the leadership of our minority leader on this issue. He has made it a priority in the caucus. He has seen its effects at home in Nevada, and he is an outstanding voice in this area. I am very grateful to him.

    I also thank and recognize my chairman on the Environment and Public Works Committee, Barbara Boxer, and no one is more forceful than she on the need that we have to address climate change and the carbon pollution we are emitting that is causing this.

    Mr. President, we are here just after the 6-month anniversary of an interesting statement that was made by the Republican chairman of the energy committee, the Senator from Alaska. Six months ago--January 22, to be exact--she said: What I am hoping that we can do now is get beyond the discussion as to whether climate change is real and talk about what do we do.

    That was January 22 on the Senate floor, 6 months ago. What have we seen from the majority party in the 6 months since their energy chairman said that we need to get to this question, we need to concede climate change is real, and that we need to address what to do? We have seen exactly nothing--that is to say nothing but complaints: Oh, the President's Clean Power Plan is no good. Oh, we should have massive resistance to the President's Clean Power Plan. Oh, we should defund the EPA.

    These are the thoughts the Republican majority brings as we face this question.

    So it is worth looking at some of the folks who are very clear that climate change is a real problem. Here is one--NASA, our scientists from NASA. They couldn't be clearer about the importance of climate change and about the role of carbon pollution. How smart are NASA scientists? They are driving a rover around on the surface of Mars, folks. They just shot a spacecraft by Pluto close enough to take pictures of it and send back data.

    What does the Republican majority have to say about NASA's position on climate change? That they are in on a hoax. They basically accuse NASA scientists of being dishonest, even though they are the ones who put our country on the surface of Mars and who put an American vehicle close enough to Pluto to take pictures of it.

    Look at Walmart. Just a moment ago, the junior Senator from Arkansas was presiding. Walmart joined with a dozen other companies yesterday at the White House to say climate change is real. These aren't leftwing companies. This was Walmart. This was Alcoa. This was GM. This was Coke. This was Pepsi. This was UPS.

    We have to start taking this seriously. But is there anything out of the State of Arkansas--Walmart's home State--on climate? Nope. Not a single thing.

    There was recently an article in Forbes magazine titled ``Climate Change Will Cause Increased Flooding in Coastal Cities.'' The picture is a satellite picture of the State of Florida. The little caption under the picture says: ``Flooding from climate change is threatening much of the coastline, including major cities in Florida.'' Yet we have two Presidential candidates from Florida on the Republican side, and what do they have to say about climate change? Nothing--nothing other than ``I don't know, I am not a scientist'' and all the usual dodges.

    Pope Francis wrote an encyclical--an extraordinarily important article in the Catholic faith--about the reality and the effect of climate change. What do our Catholic Republican Senators have to say about that? Nothing. We are not going to listen to him; he is not [[Page S6095]] a scientist. Well, actually, technically he is. He is a trained chemist. But that is the line--not a scientist.

    What could possibly explain these strange anomalies? The biggest corporation in Arkansas knows climate change is a problem, and there is nothing from the Senators from Arkansas. The coastline of Florida is under immediate threat, according to Forbes magazine, the capitalist tool, and the Presidential candidates from Florida can't say a single thing about it. The Pope is calling on us---- The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.

    Mr. WHITEHOUSE. I ask unanimous consent for a closing minute.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

    Mr. WHITEHOUSE. The last thing I will mention is that there is a common thread that links all of this, and it is money. The Koch brothers are putting hundreds of millions of dollars into this election. One of their organizations--one--said that it was going to spend $889 million in this election and that anybody who crossed them on climate change would be at ``a severe disadvantage.'' Nice little campaign you got here; I would hate to put it at a severe disadvantage with my $900 million. So what we have is secret money and we have threats related to it that are obliterating what had been a good Republican response on climate change and on other environmental issues.

    We need to move on.

    I yield the floor.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Hawaii.

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