Emergency Water Legislation Scheduled for House Consideration

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WASHINGTON – Congressmen David G. Valadao (CA-21), Devin Nunes (CA-22), and Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) today praised Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor and Chairman Hastings for swiftly scheduling a floor debate on emergency legislation needed to address devastating water shortages in California. These shortages, which for several years have been primarily the result of failed government policies, have been compounded by a major drought and demand immediate action. The bill, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act (H.R. 3964), has been scheduled for debate next week in the full House.

Congressman Valadao stated, “Republican Leadership understands just how important this issue is to our constituents in the Central Valley. The California Delegation has the support of our colleagues in the House of Representatives and I am confident will pass this legislative solution this coming week. It will then be up to California’s Senators to ensure their Chamber understands that Californians are truly suffering and acts upon our proposal quickly.”

“Next week, I predict the House will again pass comprehensive legislation to solve California’s water crisis. Like two years ago, it will be swiftly transmitted to the Senate. I hope California’s Senators take the time to read the bill and that, given the dire conditions in the State, have the decency to offer their own plan in response. Inaction is not an option,” said Rep. Devin Nunes.

Congressman McCarthy said, “House Republicans have put forth and will vote next week on a solution to California’s man-made water problems. Absent immediate action, California farmers and communities will continue to be gripped by the damaging effects of the worst drought in a century. This bill, led by Rep. David Valadao (CA-21), is a responsible answer to the hardship the Central Valley is currently facing. It is absolutely imperative that Senators Boxer and Feinstein respond to this crisis as the House has this year, and in years past. I thank Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor, and Chairman Hastings for appreciating the urgency of this matter and scheduling a vote on this bill next week.”

The Sacramento–San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act (H.R. 3964) restores water reliability to California communities by codifying the bipartisan Bay-Delta Accord. It also reforms onerous federal laws – such as the Central Valley Project Improvement Act and the Endangered Species Act – that have severely curtailed water deliveries and resulted in hundreds of billions of gallons of badly needed water being flushed into the ocean. The bill will be debated next week and is expected to be broadcast live on C-SPAN1.

House Republicans passed comprehensive water policy reform legislation for California (H.R. 1837) on February 29, 2012. The bill would have mitigated the crisis now experienced by many California communities. However, it died in the Senate due to the opposition of California’s Democratic Senators. No Senate hearings were held, nor were any amendments offered or alternatives proposed. Furthermore, the Senate recently prevented the addition of emergency drought relief provisions for California in the Farm Bill. Speaker Boehner and Agriculture Committee Chairman Lucas had tabled a modest plan to provide additional water supplies to desperate communities just prior to the conclusion of the Farm Bill Conference Committee. The opposition of California’s Senators effectively killed the effort.