On Wednesday, under the cover of darkness, the House Rules Committee decided to prevent a vote on my amendment to the 2010 Department of Interior spending bill - an amendment that would have halted the insane actions of our government that have deprived California communities of access to water.
Last week, a similar amendment that I offered was narrowly defeated on the House Floor, 218 to 208. The amendment would have passed if Congressman George Miller had not forced several Democrats to change their votes (to see what happened, click here).
Despite the loss, we were able to force a vote and put lawmakers on the record, and on notice – the American people are watching. The Rules Committee decision Wednesday night has effectively shut down the democratic process. It was a crass political maneuver in violation of House Rules and long-standing legislative protocol.
Yesterday, I made this statement on the floor of the House of Representatives:
"Madam Speaker, 636 days and counting. This is the number of days that have passed since I asked the Democrats in this body to take direct action and avoid destruction of the San Joaquin Valley. Instead, we've had 636 days of inaction, 636 days of a man-made drought, a California dust bowl.
"Last week there was a close vote, apparently too close for the Democrat leadership. The bipartisan amendment I offered would have stopped the Obama administration from taking additional measures to starve the people of the San Joaquin Valley of water. The Democrat leadership will not risk the possibility of defeat again. No mistakes this time. No vote will be allowed on the House floor this week on my new amendment to the Interior bill.
"The hypocrisy of this situation is that the Democrat majority champions working families but in reality is just backing the radical environmental element in this country. For the San Joaquin Valley, the Democrats in this House have chosen the 3-inch minnows over working families.
"What we are witnessing is the greatest elected assembly in the history of the world starving its citizens of water, acting like a despot who tortures the innocent just to stay in power. Make no mistake - raw power is what we're witnessing, power that injures and wounds, exercised at the highest levels of this government, straight from the Obama White House and the Democrat leadership in this Congress. They will say anything and do anything to keep power. Their victims are my constituents, the people of the San Joaquin Valley, who have done nothing to deserve this cruelty at the hands of this government. The clock is ticking. There's very little time left. This Congress must act and act now.
"At this moment, Madam Speaker, Members of this body are at the White House having a luau; and in the meantime, there's 40,000 people without jobs in the San Joaquin Valley because of the inaction by the Democrats and this Congress. Come back. Stop the luau. Stop the partying, and come back, and vote ``no'' on this rule and allow an amendment on this bill to bring people of the San Joaquin Valley.
"Come back. Stop the party. Come back now."