Transcript of Senator Boxer’s Remarks From Today’s Press Conference Following the Senate’s Vote on the Boxer-Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act
June 6, 2008
Well, this is a landmark day. It's another milestone in the fight against global warming.
The senator standing right next to me now is the one that brought us the first piece of legislation in '03 and then in '05.
So this is how far back we go, to '03. So, we're in the fifth year.
The Clean Air Act took 10 years; this will not take 10 years. Why do I say that? Because this issue is front and center on the minds of the American people, 89 percent of whom say it needs to be addressed.
And now, because we got a good bill out of our committee and Senator Reid had the courage to bring it to the floor, we see that people are engaged.
We are having a meeting next week with those who we wanted to work with over the next week or two. That was the process we had hoped to follow on the floor. You know, sitting down with members, working out their amendments.
We're going to do it, because we're getting ready for the next President of the United States. I have not been involved in a debate like this, where those who couldn't be there sent in letters, some of them very poignant letters. And to get a letter from Ted Kennedy really brought tears to my eyes, because he wrote the most beautiful letter to us saying how important this was and congratulating us.
So it is a very special day.
Now, we have 54 votes -- we got 46 Democrats and eight Republicans, and -- if you count everyone who sent in the letters, that's where it comes out.
So we're making tremendous progress. We made the case on the floor for this bill.
And I just wanted to say to my colleagues what an important debate it was and how, for me, it was an underscoring of the fact that we must act.
Everyone on our side, I believe, on this side of the issue, understands the urgency.
Time is not our friend.
We know because the scientists are very clear. We know because even Bush administration officials, who have been told to play this down, could not play it down, from the head of the CDC to the national security people.
The message is very clear.
And I thought one of the most poignant -- we've had a couple of poignant press conferences with the faith-based groups and others, but I thought yesterday, when we had that press conferences with the retired admiral and the retired general -- they made the case better than any of us could make the case, that we must act.
You cannot wait for 100 percent certainty. They said, "On the battlefield if you wait for 100 percent certainty, terrible things will happen." And we have 90 percent certainty from the scientists that human activities are causing this.
So we will act.
I think that our colleagues who voted for cloture who had problems with the bill and wanted to work out amendments deserve a lot of credit. They put faith and hope in the process and in us that we will listen to them. And, indeed, we will. That's how we got the bill as far as we got it. It got as far as it got because we listened to colleagues.
So we're continuing to move forward and not stop.
What I said when we got started, because a lot of people said -- "Why are you doing this? What is the point? President Bush says he'll veto. Indeed, he wrote a veto message. What is this about?"
It's about moving forward so that this gets done.
A bill like this doesn't happen overnight. It is a process. I already told you, we had Senator Lieberman starting with a bill in '03, again in '05, and here we are. And we now have a clear majority of this Senate.
And if I might say so and make a prediction, we will have a Senate next year that I believe will be much more hospitable to this bill and they'll like this bill. So, we're very excited about that.
And we will have a president, either one, who will be hospitable to this subject and we believe will send down a bill to us and work with us.
So, we're really pleased. We have gotten started. We have a road map as to where our colleagues are, so that people know where our colleagues are. And we will give the road map to the next President so he knows where our colleagues are and where are the consensus areas and where are the difficult areas."
So, we have kept this issue alive for this presidential race. This now becomes a bigger issue because it's clear that a majority of the Congress wants to act. And that's very, very important.
I just want to conclude by saying to Senator Lieberman, Warner and Senator Kerry, you know, this really has been an amazing working relationship.
All of you know we don't agree on every issue. You all know that. We don't belong to the same party, and Senator Lieberman is an independent, I'm a Democrat, Kerry is a Democrat and Warner is a Republican.
We view other issues very differently. And, frankly, we don't even talk about them because there's no point. That's how differently we see them.
But when it comes to this issue, there's no difference. And I think that is important to say to the American people that this can happen and this does happen in the United States Senate, that we can cross party lines, that we can cross ideological lines, that we can work together.
The last thing I want to say is to this staff who's here right now. You know who you are. You're lined up here and you all look extremely tired, if I might say ... as young and as beautiful as you are.
This has been an unbelievable experience for you and for us. This has not been a 9-to-5 experience.
This has been, some nights, 24 hours. This has been -- I mean, I think back, was it Mother's Day ... there was Bettina, working with colleagues from Senator Warner and Senator Lieberman's office and our office, and Erik, and all of you know who you are. And Senator Warner's staff, we really got to know and love.
So, what an experience.
But it's just the beginning for us. Because we're moving forward next week. We're going to continue our meetings. And we're getting ready. And we feel good. We said to each other, Joe [Lieberman] and I, a couple of weeks ago, "If we can just get over 50..."