TRANSCRIPT: Schumer Remarks At NYC Press Conference On Severe Flooding From Tropical Storm Ida

September 2, 2021

Queens, N.Y.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today delivered remarks at a press conference with New York Governor Kathy Hochul, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and others on the catastrophic flooding from Tropical Storm Ida. Senator Schumer stressed that he will fight for all the aid needed to recover from this flooding and laid out the urgent need to fight climate change by getting signed into law both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better budget reconciliation bill.  Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

First, my condolences and heart and prayers to all of the families who have lost loved ones.

Imagine the horror of, you’re sitting in your own basement apartment and the water just floods in all of a sudden, with no notice, and you struggle to get out but you can't. It's an awful, awful situation and our hearts go out to them. 

I, too, want to thank all of our New Yorkers at the city and the state level, as well as the other localities, who always go all out.

Unfortunately, we in New York have experienced too many emergencies in the last decade. And the one thing we've learned through these emergencies is how strong New Yorkers are and how much our public servants want to go all out and risk their lives to preserve other people's lives. And we thank them. 

I’m going to make two points here. 

Number one: we will do everything we can to get all of the federal aid that's needed. We did this after Sandy; we’ve done it after many other storms Upstate. The governor knows from when we’ve worked together on these storms upstate. And I spoke this morning to FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. The good news here is – you know what her job was before she was FEMA administrator? She was the city's OEM [New York City Emergency Management Department] commissioner, so she knows New York well. 

We will fight and make this—make New York – declared a disaster area. I’ve spoken to the White House as well. And that will mean money; money for homeowners and individuals; money for small businesses that may have been lost; and money to our city, state and other local governments for the amount of money that they've had to lay out, to deal with this crisis. 

I will make sure, as I have in the past, that no stone is left unturned and all of the federal largess, and the federal government we know when a disaster hits one area, the whole country comes together and helps, and that is what we're going to ask here for New York, just as we are helping in California with the fires and out West with the fires, et cetera. 

And that relates to my second and final point: global warming is upon us. 

When you get two record rainfalls in a week it's not just coincidence. When you get all the changes that we have seen in weather, that's not a coincidence. 

Global warming is upon us and it's going to get worse and worse and worse, unless we do something about it. 

And that’s why it’s so imperative to pass the two bills, the infrastructure bill and the budget reconciliation bill. The second deals with climate change and will reduce the amount of carbon we've put in the atmosphere by 50% by 2030. The first bill deals with infrastructure, and built into that infrastructure is something that I started fostering with Sandy, that we don't just build infrastructure, but we build resilient infrastructure, so when these floods or fires, or anything else occurs, they're much more resistant. And you saw some results of that from the Sandy money, but we need much more of it and these bills do that. 

Woe is us if we don't recognize these changes are due to climate change. 

Woe is us if we don't do something about it quickly, both in building resilient infrastructure and going to clean power, whether it's in homes, in electricity, in transportation, to stop the global warming or at least reduce its awful effects on this country. 

I want to thank the governor for being here right on the spot. I want to thank the mayor, he's always available; our Borough President; our great congressman who I work with on these federal issues, Greg Meeks; John Liu; Daneek Miller; and everyone who is here. Thank you. And now it's my honor to call on Mayor de Blasio.