Saturday, December 6, 2014

House Majority Leader McCarthy: California's drought cannot go unanswered by Congress; the House responded but will the Senate?

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Leader, gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words:

 "Our community is facing the burdens of the worst drought in a century, which has led to barren farms and drastic water shortages, and job and economic loss. We have reached this point after years of
inaction by Senate Democrats while ill-conceived policies have continued to prioritize the well-being of fish above people. Though only Mother Nature can dictate the duration of the drought, the situation demands immediate action to address government-created barriers to ensure available water flows throughout our state and not washed out to the ocean.

  "After the House and Senate passed separate California water bills this year, months were spent working on a bipartisan compromise for a long-term solution. Unfortunately, the Senate was pressured to quit negotiations at the last minute.

  "This crisis cannot go unanswered, and the House’s unwavering commitment to find a solution has led to the California Emergency Drought Relief Act, introduced by Congressman David Valadao. Due to the urgent nature of the water crisis, the House will vote on this legislation next week.

 "The first storms of the season are currently over California, with hopefully more to come in the subsequent months. It would be reckless and irresponsible to let the water from these storms be released into the ocean rather than directed to our local communities in need. The California Emergency Drought Relief Act contains provisions from the original Senate-passed bill and from the House’s negotiations with the Senate. Absent action now, California will continue to lose the water from storms in this water year and will face another year of devastating water-crisis. While more must be done toward a long-term solution, this legislation is another critical step to provide relief to our communities suffering from the drought. I am honored that as Majority Leader, the House will have this legislation on the floor for a vote and I hope the Senate will also vote on this bill.

 "Understandably, next week is an important week in Congress that could have a positive impact on lives of our neighbors. But this past week the House acted on legislation that also has a significant impact on thousands of families in California and countless others across the country that have a family member who is disabled. But despite a disability, many disabled Americans who want to live independent lives are unable to do so because of financial constraints.  The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act) is legislation that will both empower and help ease the burden of disabled Americans by letting them and their families create tax-free accounts that can be used to pay for education, housing, transportation, or other disability-related expenses. It’s no wonder that this bill passed with widespread, bipartisan support, because it gives individuals with disabilities more opportunities by clearing away some of the obstacles they face so that they can achieve a better life.

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