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Climate Action Now Act

Floor Speech

Date: May 1, 2019
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SHIMKUS. Mr. Chairman, I didn't get a chance to come down during the debate on the underlying bill, and the committee, of course, raised this issue.

The hope is that the President is going to sign a bill to go back into an agreement that he already decided to get out of. So, when the statement is made--it only reverses the President's action if the President signs the bill. The President is not going to sign this bill.

So why are we here? Why are we spending a whole week? I understand we need to get this climate debate off our chest and eventually move forward, and I hope we will do that in a bipartisan manner.

As to the amendment that we are debating here, not bad, I think, trying to understand the green jobs that will occur. But I think those of us from fossil fuel areas, coal mining areas, marginal oil, well, we would probably like to see an evaluation of job losses that could occur as part of this.

They are going to tout the job creation. Let's look at the areas--and they touted rural America. Let's look at the areas where coal mines will close, coal-fired power plants will close, and the economic impact that will be impacted there.

We are pretty excited about working with the Energy and Commerce Committee on, as is, I think, the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, conservation, innovation, adaption. Our focus is going to be: Let's affect the carbon dioxide emissions without raising energy costs and slowing the economic activity.

I think we have one of the best economies that I have ever served in, and we do have an increase in carbon dioxide this last year because the economic activity is so great.

So if you believe that, which is true, the reverse would be, if you delay and raise energy costs, you could really hurt economic growth.

Mr. Chair, I ask for a ``no'' vote, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. SHIMKUS. Mr. Chairman, I urge opposition to this amendment.

Listen, in the transmission world, other than Texas, no State is alone. California is in the Western interconnect. So we have great support for States' rights, but decisions made by California will affect Nevada and will affect Arizona.

For example, we have seen how decisions in some areas actually benefit the fossil energy in other areas, such as support of fossil and nuclear power in Arizona for California's electricity requirements.

The basic underlying amendment really does nothing to address things that we would like to support--conservation, innovation, adaption-- trying to, in a bipartisan approach, address the real issue, which is how do we reduce carbon dioxide emissions in a way that protects the economy, grows the economy. We also feel that our citizens are better served when they have good paying jobs and they are working versus a risk of not doing that if you move down an unchecked path.

Mr. Chair, I urge a ``no'' vote, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. SHIMKUS. Madam Chair, I also thank Congresswoman Gonzalez-Colon and, actually, Congresswoman Plaskett. I was able to visit the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico during the last hurricane, and it was devastating. I appreciate the hospitality shown in difficult times.

Madam Chair, while this is a ``let's do an evaluation of good and bad,'' versus one of the amendments we talked about earlier, I am pleased to support it.

The only caveat we would say is that we would rather have these reports done prior to making major decisions versus making a decision and then seeing how it is going to impact. But I am pleased to support it, and I thank the gentlewoman for bringing it forward.

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Mr. SHIMKUS. Madam Chair, bravo for our States and bravo for our communities. I think the only problem I have with the amendment is you seem to have to believe that the United States has to be involved in an international agreement for us to lead. We are the largest carbon reducer since 2015 in the world.

I think the Energy and Commerce Committee over the last Congress has led with bipartisan solutions that have come to the floor. That is where we need to get to eventually, instead of the ``he said, she said,'' point fingers, ``you are bad.''

What can we do that gets across to the Senate? What can we do to get it to the President's desk? Moving an amendment and a bill that says, ``Mr. President, you got out of the Paris accord, now sign this bill to undo what you just did,'' no one believes he is going to sign that.

We also know that even if he vetoes that bill, we will be able to sustain it on this side.

We look forward to doing things that we did in the last Congress. We can address carbon capture, sequestration, utilization; advanced nuclear reforms; hydropower; and clean natural gas, which has also enhanced our national security; and energy efficiency.

Republicans are willing to work with my colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee on conservation, things like energy efficiency, new source review, and forest management. We are willing to talk about innovation, things like advanced nuclear power, as I mentioned; carbon capture, utilization, sequestration, pumped storage; battery technology through research and development; adaptation addressing the grid, adapting to the climate change issues; resiliency of our communities; genetically modified crops, if we have weather conditions or drier conditions.

There are things that we think we can move to address this debate that could get through the Senate and could get to the President's desk, but haranguing and harassing a President who has already decided to leave the accord and think he is going to sign a bill is just not going to happen. That is why I oppose this amendment.

I disagree with the basic premise of the amendment. I agree that communities are doing great things. States are leading. When you argue that States are leading, that is contrary to your argument that we have to lead. If the States and local communities are doing it, why does it take the Federal Government to do that?

We don't have to bash to work together and move a policy forward.

Madam Chair, I yield back the balance of my time.

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