(CNSNews.com) - Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor on Tuesday that the natural disasters the United States has experienced over the last two years—including a major hurricane in Puerto Rico—are evidence that “global warming” is in fact taking place.
"Over the last 2 years, the American people have endured staggering natural disasters that have devastated communities across the country,” Schumer said.
“These Americans need help. They need help now,” he said.
“I would parenthetically add, if there were ever evidence of global warming or of climate change, this would be it--despite the fact that just about every Republican has his head or her head in the sand and won’t admit it.”
Schumer made the remarks while criticizing President Donald Trump’s opposition to providing additional disaster relief to Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria in September 2017. “Maria was a very severe Cape Verde Hurricane that ravaged the island of Dominca at category 5 (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) intensity, and later devastated Puerto Rico as a high-end category 4 hurricane,” says a report on the storm published by the National Weather Service.
“It also inflicted serious damage on some of the other islands of the northeastern Caribbean Sea,” says the NWS report. “Maria is the third costliest hurricane in United States history.”
Here is the excerpt from Schumer’s speech where he discusses the disaster assistance and the evidence for global warming:
“Mr. President, the Senate failed to pass emergency relief funding yesterday to help the American families recovering from natural disasters. It failed for one reason--the Republicans removed critical aid for Puerto Rico and other territories from the House bill after President Trump told them to do it. Under this administration and with Leader McConnell's blessing, even disaster relief has now become political.
“I don't need to litigate why we are here. Over the last 2 years, the American people have endured staggering natural disasters that have devastated communities across the country. These Americans need help. They need help now. I would parenthetically add, if there were ever evidence of global warming or of climate change, this would be it despite the fact that just about every Republican has his head or her head in the sand and will not admit it.
“Regardless of what you think the causes were, Americans have always stood together when American citizens have been hit by disaster. We band together and say we are going to help one another--all American citizens, all. Yet one part of America is not being treated like the others, and why not? It is because President Trump, for reasons that defy decency, harbors an apparent contempt for the people of Puerto Rico. He tweeted again last night and erroneously claimed that $91 billion has been afforded the people of Puerto Rico. He ridiculed the leadership that has desperately tried to rebuild the island in the wake of these megastorms.
“Let's get the facts straight. The Republicans know the storms that hit Puerto Rico over a year ago were not ordinary storms; they know these were historic catastrophes. We are talking about the deadliest disasters to hit American soil in over a century. We are talking about the worst power outage in American history. We are talking about 3,000 lives lost. Yet here we are, 18 months later, and the island hasn't recovered.
“It is surreal that a disaster so awful has been met with a Presidential response that is so tepid and so heartless. It is surreal that our Republican colleagues go along with this and say we are not going to help Puerto Rico in the way that is needed. Billions in funding for recovery and mitigation efforts right now remain locked in the Treasury. Congress already appropriated $20 billion that the administration has not allocated. All we want to do is make sure the money is allocated. That is one of the things we want to do.
“Are our Republican colleagues opposed to that? That is what it sounds like. Some of them say it is political. What is political is President Trump's saying no aid for Puerto Rico and having the Republicans jump in line, even those with many Puerto Ricans in their States. Make no mistake, we have reached this impasse because the President has said himself he opposes help for Puerto Rico, and the Republicans follow along.
“Some of my colleagues from the other side came up with another shibboleth; that we opposed the House bill because it didn't provide funding for the Midwest. First of all, the House bill was aimed at disasters in 2018, not in 2019. Second, Senator Leahy offered an amendment that would have added funding for the Middle West and funding for Puerto Rico. What did the Republicans do? They blocked it anyway.
“So this undoes their fantasy that the Democrats are opposed to aid for the Middle West. Senator Leahy and I will be offering an amendment that will give aid to the Midwest and to Puerto Rico. Let's see where our Republican colleagues stand. Will they block that too?
“Yesterday's vote boiled down to a simple question: Do the Republicans believe the people of Puerto Rico deserve relief for their natural disasters as do all Americans? Do they believe the families of Puerto Rico--whatever you think of this elected official in Puerto Rico--deserve to be helped just like the families of the Midwest and California?”