House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words:
"This week within the past two days, the House moved in quick succession to pass the first two appropriations bills for fiscal year 2016.
"First, the House passed the Fiscal Year 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bill.
"This bill will accomplish a lot, but one of its most important functions is increasing reform in the VA by modernizing electronic health records for veterans and tackling the disability claims. The lack of proper health records and continued disability claims backlog have remained problems for years now, even as the House has called for reform multiple times. Taking more steps to resolve these issues is a start to bringing the VA into the 21st century.
"Finally, this bill will also renovate military facilities and help streamline the building process and fight back against mismanagement and delays that have already wasted the taxpayers millions of dollars.
"Second, the House passed the Fiscal Year 2016 Energy and Water appropriations bill which provides necessary resources for America’s infrastructure, including our electric grid, nuclear stockpiles, and critical water projects.
"As California endures the worst drought in a century, the Bureau of Reclamation continues to drag its feet on feasibility studies for new water storage projects. This bill will force the Bureau of Reclamation to finally make a decision on these studies that have been stuck in the bureaucracy for upward of five to ten years. When completed, the projects could increase our water storage capacity by 1 to 1.5 million acre-feet, which is almost the same amount of water estimated to be saved by Governor Brown’s rationing mandate. Frankly, it’s inexcusable that these projects have waited so long for approval.
"This bill also addresses important safety and water storage projects in Kern County and Tulare County. It includes close to $50 million for the important Lake Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project and directs the Army Corps of Engineers to move quickly on the dam enlargement project at Success Lake.
"This positive work was a team effort from members of the California delegation. Amendments from Representative David Valadao, Tom McClintock, and Doug LaMalfa took measurable steps to restore sanity to the mismanagement of California water. Our drought is a crisis that cannot be ignored or passed off as an incentive to simply ration more.