Friday, January 31, 2014

House acts fast on California water bill

In light of the drought emergency in California, the House leadership has scheduled a vote for next week on H.R. 3964, the comprehensive water fix introduced in the House by the entire California GOP delegation. The bill has already provoked opposition from Governor Brown's administration and from the usual suspects who have resisted every significant effort to bring relief to drought-stricken Californians. Nevertheless, Speaker of the House John Boehner understands the situation's urgency and is determined to quickly submit this bill for a vote.

Monday, January 27, 2014

A chance for more water fast

Responding to a request from Speaker of the House John Boehner, Rep. Valadao, Rep. McCarthy, and myself, Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas has presented a legislative fix for the water crisis to the Conference Committee on the Farm Bill. The bill could pass this week, bringing fast relief to South Valley farmers and communities. We sincerely hope California’s senators will cooperate with the House and support this proposal to alleviate the dire conditions facing many of our constituents.  

For further information, please see:
·         Our press release here.
·         The Fresno Bee op-ed here.
·         The Wall Street Journal articles here and here.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

New skirmish in the water wars

I joined Reps. McCarthy, Valadao, and Costa on a statement today urging the Bureau of Reclamation not to suspend delivery of rescheduled water to Central Valley farmers. You can read our statement here.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Water crisis update

This week Speaker of the House John Boehner joined Rep. McCarthy, Rep. Valadao, and myself at the Starrh farm in Bakersfield to plead our case for more water for Central Valley farmers and communities. We announced that we’ll be submitting legislation in Congress to take three actions to resolve the water crisis: 

·         Turn on the Delta pumps this year and next year to capture future rain events.

·         End restoration flows in the San Joaquin River for this year and next year in order to stop wasting water.

·         Establish a bipartisan, emergency joint committee from the House and Senate to devise a long-term legislative solution.

I’m confident most people would view this as a common-sense plan that will bring immediate relief to water-starved Californians and help find a permanent fix to the problem. Then again, you can always count on the extremists to denounce any constructive proposal even before it’s published. 

Separately, the Nunes Digest has been updated here for your weekend reading.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Drought is declared: Governor states the obvious while politicians run victory laps

Governor Jerry Brown today declared a drought emergency in California. Notably, in their statements about the declaration, neither the governor nor Senator Dianne Feinstein mentioned any of our attempts in the House of Representatives over the past several years to pass legislation that would permanently end the state’s water crisis. The Senate has rejected all our efforts, including the comprehensive fix contained in H.R. 1837, which passed the House in 2012 but was not acted upon in the Senate. This week, senators declined another water fix that was proposed in connection with the omnibus spending bill.
The governor’s emergency declaration has sparked victory laps by politicians, plenty of slaps on the back, calls for water bonds, demands to appoint a “federal drought coordinator,” and cries of joy from water districts that refuse to tell farmers and farmworkers what it will really take to end the water crisis. The bottom line is this: the declaration of a drought emergency will accomplish next to nothing. Outside of flood-level rainfall, there are only two ways to get more water this year: get the pumps turned back on, and get more water from the San Joaquin River that will otherwise be flushed into the ocean for the sake of phantom salmon. It will take federal laws, like those passed in the House and rejected in the Senate, to accomplish those actions. Anything else is just noise.

Perplexed by Senator Feinstein’s refusal to cooperate on water legislation, I joined my colleagues Reps. McCarthy and Valadao in writing a letter today inviting the senator to meet with us and explain any legislative proposals she may have to resolve the drought. You can read the letter here.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Our water disaster

Policies pushed by environmental extremists have now taken deep root in the Central Valley, especially due to the Central Valley Project Improvement Act of 1992 (the George Miller/Bill Bradley bill), destructive court rulings based on the Endangered Species Act, and the San Joaquin River Settlement of 2009. The devastating results of these policies are now undeniable – the Valley is suffering from a permanent government-made drought.

A bill that would have rectified this situation – the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act (H.R. 1837) – was approved by the House of Representatives in 2012 but did not pass the Senate due to opposition from both California senators and from Governor Brown.

The current impasse on water is the result of a deliberate campaign to pit water districts and local officials against one another, and to create a giant, impenetrable bureaucracy around the issue that insulates our senators and governor from the political consequences of this disaster.

In light of the dire threat the drought poses to Valley agriculture and to Valley life in general, our senators and Governor Brown must either work to pass the reforms from H.R. 1837 or explain to Californians how they intend to mitigate this calamity. Ultimately, it will take federal law to fix the problem; without Senate support for a comprehensive water bill that gains President Obama’s signature, there will be no relief from current conditions outside of flood-level rainfall. 

For further information, please see the letter I recently sent to Friant farmers on this topic here, and a letter I sent out in 2008 here.

Friday, January 10, 2014

In support of fast-track

This week a bill was introduced in Congress to approve fast-track procedures for several new trade pacts. These agreements would have immense benefits for California and the entire country. I wrote in support of the bill here.  

Separately, the Nunes Digest is updated for your weekend reading here.