ICYMI: Curbelo Discusses Climate Victory in Defense Spending Bill with WIOD News Radio

WIOD’s Manny Munoz: “And Congressman Curbelo, you’ve been getting a lot of praise from both sides of the aisle, not only on this issue, but on the fact that you're one of – what seems to be – a very few handful of politicians in Washington D.C. who is willing to put your position on the line and work across the aisle to actually try and get things done for the American people.”

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Washington, D.C., July 17, 2017 | Joanna Rodriguez (202-225-2778) | comments

Representative Carlos Curbelo joined 610AM WIOD News Radio this morning to discuss the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and Curbelo’s leadership of the Climate Solutions Caucus to defeat an anti-climate amendment that had been proposed to the bill.

As was reported by the Miami Herald Friday, the Caucus has the potential to continue defeating anti-climate legislation in the House of Representatives.

“Now this issue that we're discussing is even more basic than that, we're not getting into the causes, we just want to know what's happening and figure out what we need to do to become more resilient and to adapt to it,” Curbelo said. “And that’s the first step, to get people on both sides of the aisle to have a logical, reasonable, fact-based discussion on what is happening and what we may do – what we can do – to adapt to what is happening.

“And, again, those Members in coastal areas are increasingly becoming sensitive to this,” Curbelo added. “We have a lot of Republicans, even from the deep South, who everyday come to me and say ‘Well let's talk about this climate change thing and sea level rise.’ There is growing interest and my hope is that we can build that coalition, that bipartisan coalition, as quickly as possible just so that we can advance common-sense policy solutions.”

Curbelo previously praised the actions of the Climate Solutions Caucus immediately following the vote that defeated the anti-climate amendment last week, and again after House passage of the NDAA.

A full transcript of the interview can be found below. Audio of the interview is available here.


Curbelo Discusses Climate Victory in Defense Spending Bill with WIOD News Radio
WIOD News Radio
July 17, 2017
https://youtu.be/orKKKqZ80os

Curbelo: “Thanks for having me on to talk about the important victory we had last week on the House floor.”

WIOD’s Manny Munoz: “Yeah, you know it was a huge win. We talk a lot on the show about the lack of bipartisan work on Capitol Hill and there is occasionally something – even if it doesn't get a lot of headlines – but yours is making a lot of headlines. You and a bipartisan group of moderates from both parties were able to defeat an anti-climate change legislation that was tucked into a defense spending bill. Tell us about how that effort worked out for you and how it was such a big win.”

Curbelo: “That's right and it's an issue that for us in South Florida that is critically important. I remind my colleagues that most of us in South Florida live near the sea and pretty much at sea level, so this issue of rising sea levels is important to us. And nowhere is it more important than in Key West, where we have Naval Air Station Key West, a very important Navy base that has been there for many, many years and provides the Navy with many opportunities for training and, of course, access to the entire Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, as well as the Atlantic.

“Now, what we were fighting in this legislation last week, Secretary Mattis of the Department of Defense has acknowledged, on the record, that climate change, sea level rise does pose significant risk to the military because we have many bases on the water. There is a report in the NDAA or the National Defense Authorization Act that requires the Defense Department to basically publish or report back to the Congress on its 10 most vulnerable bases per service. So, really, it’s 40 most vulnerable bases and you know any efforts that are being made to address these risks associated with climate change.

Now, we had a colleague from Pennsylvania who decided that he wanted to file an amendment to strike that report from the NDAA bill. A group of us came together, the Climate Solutions Caucus for the most part, that’s 24 Republicans and 24 Democrats, and said, ‘No. We want the American people to know the truth. We want Congress to know the truth, and if indeed these bases are threatened by a changing climate, sea level rise in our case, we want for that to be known and we want to figure out what we are going to do about it.’

“So, it’s a modest win but I think it’s a very important statement from a bipartisan group of Members that want to work together, using science and using evidence, to reach a sound policy.”

Munoz: “You can argue the science if you want to, I know  some people still want to do that, and you can argue about how much money it will cost to implement a lot of these climate change proposals, but is it difficult for you, are you still fighting an uphill battle within your own party to gain more acceptance about the things that need to be done now to prepare ourselves for these inevitable changes in our climate?”

Curbelo: “It's definitely an uphill battle because of some 20-25 years ago this became an ideological issue. I think a lot of people on the right reached the conclusion that because Al Gore was talking about the environment, that we should all be opposed to anything having to do with environmental policy or with recognizing any human impact on the climate. Now this issue that we're discussing is even more basic than that, we're not getting into the causes, we just want to know what's happening and figure out what we need to do to become more resilient and to adapt to it. And that’s the first step, to get people on both sides of the aisle to have a logical, reasonable, fact-based discussion on what is happening and what we may do – what we can do – to adapt to what is happening.

“And, again, those Members in coastal areas are increasingly becoming sensitive to this. We have a lot of Republicans, even from the deep South, who everyday come to me and say ‘Well let's talk about this climate change thing and sea level rise.’ There is growing interest and my hope is that we can build that coalition, that bipartisan coalition, as quickly as possible just so that we can advance common-sense policy solutions.

“And, just to be clear, I'm not one of these alarmists, I’m not one of these that say, ‘Well we need to shut down every single fossil fuel power plant tomorrow, and no one can drive their vehicles.’ No. We need to be reasonable. We need to be smart. We don’t want for people to lose their jobs. We don’t want the cost of energy to soar, but we do want to, gradually, get to a reasonable, rational solution with regards to environmental policy.”

Munoz: “You use the term ‘reasonable’ quite a few times there. And Congressman Curbelo, you’ve been getting a lot of praise from both sides of the aisle, not only on this issue, but on the fact that you're one of – what seems to be – a very few handful of politicians in Washington D.C. who is willing to put your position on the line and work across the aisle to actually try and get things done for the American people. We thank you for that and we thank you for joining us this morning. Always appreciative for your time.”

Curbelo: “It’s my pleasure. I think that’s what most Americans want and that’s what I’ll continue fighting for.” 

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