Bipartisan group defends national security against climate risk

The House did the right thing: A bipartisan group of representatives struck down an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have blocked a study of climate change impacts on the military (“House defeats amendment to strip climate study from Defense bill,” July 13, 2017).

Forty-six Republicans joined Democrats to oppose the amendment. Among these, Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) spoke out during the floor debate. “We would be remiss in our efforts to protect our national security to not fully account for the risk climate change poses to our bases, our readiness and to the fulfillment of our armed services mission,” Stefanik argued.

I couldn’t agree more.


Without the rejected amendment, the NDAA calls for the Department of Defense (DoD) to submit a report to Congress that identifies the 10 military installations within each service that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change — effects such as sea level rise, drought, wildfires and thawing permafrost. The report would also discuss possible ways to mitigate climate-related risks to these installations.

In my home state of Virginia, Naval Station Norfolk — the world’s largest Navy base — would likely be on DoD’s list of vulnerable sites. Sea levels along Virginia’s coast are projected to rise 2 to 5 feet by the end of the century. Higher tides increase the likelihood of erosion, saltwater intrusion in aquifers, nuisance flooding and major flooding events during storms. The NDAA-mandated report would be a step forward in helping the Navy base and its surrounding community prepare for these risks.

I’m glad that most of Virginia’s representatives take this issue seriously. Republican Reps. Barbara Comstock and Scott Taylor joined Democratic Reps. Don Beyer, Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyTrump, Democrats set for brawl on Iran war powers Overnight Defense: Iran crisis eases as Trump says Tehran 'standing down' | Dems unconvinced on evidence behind Soleimani strike | House sets Thursday vote on Iran war powers Democrats 'utterly unpersuaded' by evidence behind Soleimani strike MORE, Donald McEachin and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottHoyer: Democratic chairmen trying to bridge divide on surprise medical bills To support today's students, Congress must strengthen oversight of colleges Democratic lawmaker tears into DeVos: You're 'out to destroy public education' MORE to defeat the NDAA amendment.

Could we have more bipartisanship like this, please?

From Stephanie Burns, Arlington, Va.

Healthcare for all is a myth

This title is not meant to be an “attention grabber.”  It is offered as what will happen in America.  For over 200 years, healthcare in America was an individual’s responsibility, with employers offering it to many workers. But then, as a political “attention grabber,” healthcare was somehow decided to be a “right.” Whether you agree with that, or not, it was the beginning of the end of healthcare as we seem to want it to be today.

Better healthcare, at a lower cost, was an enticing political offer for Americans. It was a major factor in the election of President Obama. As well intentioned as his intent may have been, ObamaCare did not come close to what was promised to we citizens. Today, the Republicans cannot provide one of the many plans they said they had “ready to go.” What happened? Let’s just call it reality! We are finally realizing that we cannot afford what we now want, unless, of course, we just decide again to pass the costs on to our kids, grandkids, et al.  That is what we have done for decades, with very little regard for our kids’ well being.

How on earth can any citizen look a child in the eyes and say, “Sorry, but we are going to leave our bills for you to pay.”

I truly don’t think we can see any positive progress until we clear up OUR debts, and begin to pay our own way. Isn’t it about time we apologized to our kids and begin to act responsibly?

From Tom Tyschper, Gilbert, Ariz.