Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Addressing The Climate Crisis In A Bold Way In Upcoming Infrastructure Legislation

July 13, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the importance of moving forward with infrastructure legislation that includes bold action on the climate crisis.  Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen an awful heat wave hit Oregon and Washington. Those states in the beautiful Northwest—always known for their cool summer breezes—had temperatures like 115 degrees, it was just astounding. Not just a little temperature bump, it was dramatically unusual. Temperatures in the Pacific Northwest climbed so high that power cables melted and roadways cracked in two.

At the same time, in the American Southwest, the lack of rainfall and depleted reservoirs have led to a historic lack of water.

According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, more than 77% of the great state of New Mexico is in a state of severe drought.

As climate change continues to worsen, extreme weather like this unfortunately is only becoming more common, putting our agriculture, our infrastructure, our economy, and our people’s health at grave risk.

That’s why I have made addressing the climate crisis in a bold way a primary focus of our upcoming debate on infrastructure. We are working with great urgency to make this happen.

And we are going to do it in two ways. First, climate change has forced us to repair and rebuild our infrastructure in a way that takes into account our new reality. Our infrastructure must become more resilient to extreme weather. In New York, I insisted that the Hurricane Sandy aid—in which New York, New Jersey got $60 billion—focus on resiliency. And as we’ve rebuilt from Hurricane Sandy using those federal dollars, we’ve done it in a way that makes flooding in downtown New York City and Long Island less likely.

We need to repeat that effort across the country to deal with heat waves, droughts, wildfires, more powerful hurricanes and even more.

But second, we must use infrastructure investment to combat climate change itself, not just make ourselves more resilient. If it keeps getting worse, resiliency goes up, global warming gets higher, resiliency goes up. We need to have this [global warming] go down. That’s so, so important.

And what are we doing? In President Biden’s proposal, and in the proposals Democrats are putting forward, we are investing in green infrastructure, clean and renewable power, housing, electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, and retrofitting our economy to reduce carbon emissions and slow climate change in both urban, suburban, and rural areas

Investing in both elements—resiliency and green infrastructure—that will create thousands upon thousands of good-paying, union American jobs in the process.

So as discussions continue on both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget resolution, Senators of both parties must understand that the issues of climate change and infrastructure cannot be separated from one another.