Friday, January 13, 2017
The recent storms in California have brought some relief to families and farmers suffering from the water crisis. Reservoirs are filling up for the first time in years, while the snowpack in the Sierra Nevadas has increased significantly.
And yet, those who are rushing to declare an end to the crisis are acting on little besides hope. The problems that caused the crisis—laws and environmental regulations that restrict pumping and mandate huge water flows be flushed into the ocean—all remain unchanged. As long as we get record-breaking rainstorms indefinitely, we'll be on the road to recovery. But if the weather eventually reverts to its usual pattern—and it's a safe bet it will—then we'll see that our solution was just a short respite.
I'm unwilling to stand aside and hope for everlasting rain, so I am continuing the fight to end the destructive regulations that favor fish over families. That's the only way to permanently solve the water crisis and guarantee we will not perpetuate the government-made catastrophe the San Joaquin Valley has experienced in recent years.
In Washington, we have a much better chance to see meaningful action now that we'll soon have a president who wants to help end the crisis rather than one who'll shrug his shoulders and blame global warming. It will still be a challenge to get comprehensive legislation passed in the Senate, but there is room for cautious optimism.
We've already started our work in the House of Representatives with the introduction of Rep. David Valadao's new water bill, the Gaining Responsibility on Water Act of 2017 (H.R. 23). Supported by the entire Republican California delegation, the bill would repeal the most damaging regulations causing the water crisis and would clear the way for crucial new water storage projects.
Representatives of water agencies and agriculture groups were in Washington this week, but they seemed to think the recent rains were cause for a victory dance. Most didn't advocate for the new water bill to members of the House and Senate, or educate members about the dire situation still facing the Valley—that is, unless we resolve our 2.5 million acre foot water shortfall, then a million acres of farmland will have to come out of production. A month of rain, unfortunately, will not change that.
Make no mistake—the fight for water continues. I hope the water agencies and agriculture groups understand that completely.
Friday, December 2, 2016
Friday, November 18, 2016
As a member of the executive committee of the Trump transition team, I'm gratified to see the future Trump administration starting to take shape. Today, the Trump team announced it is nominating Congressman Mike Pompeo as CIA Director, Congressman Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, and retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor. I think these are excellent candidates, particularly Mike Pompeo, who serves with me on the House Intelligence Committee. Mike has spent an immense amount of time in the field all across the world meeting with our intelligence professionals and service members on behalf of the Committee, and he's one of the most respected voices in the House of Representatives on national security issues. I am confident that these three men will help shape strong national security policies to keep Americans safe during these dangerous times.
I discussed the transition and some other issues with Bret Baier last night on Fox News. You can watch the video here.
Friday, November 4, 2016
The Obama administration recently revealed that premiums for Obamacare's benchmark silver plan will jump an average of 22 percent in 2017. This means premiums have now skyrocketed 116 percent in the last three years.
Obamacare defenders argue that the price hikes are not as bad as they seem, since many enrollees will get more subsidies. Of course, these defenders didn't mention escalating costs at all when they were selling the Obamacare idea to the American people—to the contrary, Obama repeatedly promised that his plan would lower the typical family's premiums by $2,500 per year. Since that has proven false, we're now told that everything's fine because of magical subsidies that, in fact, are paid for by American taxpayers.
Of course, rising prices are not the only problem with Obamacare—insurers are fleeing the exchanges in droves, leaving consumers with dwindling options. As CNN reports, "The number of carriers will drop to 228 next year in the federal exchange and selected states, down from 298 in 2016." It also relates that 21 percent of customers returning to the exchanges will only have one available carrier next year, and that five states will only have one insurer providing plans on the federal exchange.
Think about what an honest explanation of Obamacare would have sounded like before its enactment: "We will create a healthcare system that features spiraling premiums, steadily decreasing choices, and a giant bill for taxpayers. Oh, and by the way, if you like your doctor, you can't necessarily keep your doctor."
I'm guessing that would not have been an effective sales pitch.
As Obamacare continues its death spiral, House Republicans are proposing far-reaching healthcare reforms that would lower costs, increase competition, expand choice, guarantee coverage, and accelerate medical breakthroughs—you can read about our plan here.
Friday, October 28, 2016
Today I released the following statement about the FBI reopening its investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server:
“Since tens of thousands of emails traversed Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized server, including 30,000 that she deleted to avoid disclosure, it’s no surprise that the FBI has found additional problematic emails. FBI Director James Comey is right to reopen the investigation and pursue all leads until we know the full extent of Clinton’s misconduct and the full extent of the harm she did to our national security. In light of these circumstances, it’s impossible to see how Director of National Intelligence James Clapper can believe Clinton or any of her implicated staffers should ever again be provided access to classified information.”
Friday, September 30, 2016
Governor Jerry Brown on Wednesday vetoed a bill to strengthen the California legislature's oversight of high-speed rail. The measure, introduced by Assemblyman Jim Patterson from Fresno, would have simply required the High-Speed Rail Authority to provide more information on the cost and schedule for each planned segment of the high-speed rail system. The provision of this information had been recommended by the Legislative Analyst's Office.
It's no surprise that Governor Brown would resist attempts to infuse some transparency into high-speed rail. Projected construction costs have already doubled from the initial $33 billion estimate, and the final bill will surely top $100 billion. The Governor is even raiding his cap-and-trade fund, but that has not been enough to cover the project's $43.5 billion shortfall.
So where will the money come from to keep this boondoggle going? According to the Los Angeles Times, the rail authority chief "has said repeatedly this year that it should not be necessary to specify where all of the money will come from, noting that backers of the project were surprised by some sources of the money now available. He said there’s no reason to doubt that unanticipated sources will provide additional money."
So the financing plan, it seems, is to hope and pray that a giant pile of money will appear out of nowhere. Meanwhile, I leave it to you to decide whether the billions being shoveled into this absurd scheme would be better spent building new water storage projects and improving the state's road and freight-rail infrastructure.
In his veto message, Governor Brown called Assemblyman Patterson's bill "unnecessary." Seeing as the bill passed unanimously in both the Assembly and the Senate, it appears that every member of the California legislature disagrees.