WashingtonRepresentative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement:

“I am heartbroken by reports and images of the widespread devastation in Australia caused by the wildfires. The fires have left more than 20 people dead with thousands more displaceddestroyed thousands of homes, ravaged millions of acres of land, and killed an estimated half-billion animals.

I commend the many first responders and volunteers for their bravery, including the American firefighters who have flown thousands of miles to combat the wildfires. The rest of us can and must do more.

These fires are the latest harsh reminder that global warming is real. Most of the world has recognized the grave threat that climate change poses to global security and our way of lifewith a glaring exception: the Republican Party’s cynical rejection of scientific consensus has undermined American leadership when it’s most desperately needed. The result is that our country is standing on the sidelines of one of the great challenges of our time.

Last spring, the Foreign Affairs Committee and House of Representatives passed the Climate Action Now Act to reassert America’s commitment and leadership in the battle against climate changeI urge my Senate colleagues to join us in this fight. We cannot afford to wait any longer.”