Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Whip, gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill.
"This week the President gave his State of the Union address. Unfortunately, when it comes to policy, we heard much of the same. The President said he has “a phone and a pen” but that’s not what the Founders of our Constitution envisioned. He should take the time to use the phone to listen to the American people and call Senator Harry Reid to move the over 150 commonsense bills –
"Before the State of the Union, the President acknowledged to me the drought our state faces. While I appreciate the recognition, the current California drought crisis demands immediate action. Unfortunately in recent years, the federal government has chosen to put fish before families and has ignored longstanding laws that were designed to secure adequate water for the Central Valley. Our local farmers and families were dealt another blow when the California Department of Water Resources reduced State Water Project allocations from 5% to 0% in light of yesterday’s finding that the California snowpack is only 12% of its average for this time of year.
"That is why I have joined with other members of the California congressional delegation taking immediate action to address this crisis by supporting the introduction of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act (H.R. 3964). This bill would ensure that water pumps tasked with delivering water to the Central Valley are operating at the levels agreed to in the 1994 Bay Delta Accords between California and the federal government, and most importantly, reverses the backward policies that put the protection of one species of fish before our state’s farmers and families. Additionally, this bill would ensure that in wet years when it does snow and rain, the resulting water is sent to those who contract and pay for it or is used to refill our reservoirs and groundwater banks in the Central Valley, rather than sending it out to the Pacific Ocean as current government regulations require.
"The House will vote next week on this solution to the man-made water problems in California. As the House acts, I also call on Governor Brown to use his authority under the recent emergency declaration to immediately direct state agencies to relax current state environmental regulations to ensure that any available water flows across the state. Water is the lifeblood of our communities, and I hope the Senate will join us and act to provide water to Californians across the state who are enduring another year of drought.