The Politics of Poverty

Ideas and analysis from Oxfam America's policy experts

Limits to Denial: Congressman Mack Can’t Escape Reality at Home

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This guest blog post was written by David Waskow, climate change program manager. Eventually, reality sets in. Some members of Congress may try to keep denying that the climate is changing, with serious consequences in poor and unstable countries around the world. But what they won’t be able to deny is political reality at home. […]

This guest blog post was written by David Waskow, climate change program manager.

Eventually, reality sets in. Some members of Congress may try to keep denying that the climate is changing, with serious consequences in poor and unstable countries around the world. But what they won’t be able to deny is political reality at home.

The latest example: a local Florida pastor and a retired general who published an op-ed in the Naples (Florida) Daily News this past weekend calling out Congressman Connie Mack (R-FL) for sponsoring an amendment that blocks funding to boost resilience in developing countries facing severe climate impacts.

Rev. Libby Shannon and Major General Paul Monroe (USA, Ret.) speak out strongly for these climate programs, and highlight the harm that will come if we don’t take action now to prevent catastrophes like the one happening right now in eastern Africa. As the op-ed says, Congressman Mack’s amendment–which recently passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee–is a “dangerous road” that guts critical investments to save lives and reduce instability and security threats. And trying to cut deficits by chopping these kind of anti-poverty programs won’t work; development funds like this one and others make up less than 1% of the budget while helping prevent enormous disaster costs down the road.

If Congressman Mack won’t heed the warning signs of a changing climate, perhaps he’ll pay attention to these messages in his district. The Presbyterian pastor and the retired general also spoke out together with the American Value Network in a recent radio ad. The ad let Naples residents know that Mack is on the opposite side of this issue from military and security experts and a long list of religious groups.

Congressman Mack may hope that climate change will simply go away. But his own state is on the frontlines, facing both rising sea levels and regular threats from increasingly intense hurricanes. Now he’s finding himself on another frontlines too–one of his own making when he decided it was a good idea to block common sense, saving lives, and security. And, we hope that many of Mack’s congressional colleagues also take note.

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