Federal Lawmakers Announce Local Drought Field Hearing

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Republican House Members held a meeting Feb. 27 in order to help resolve the California water crisis, representing, among other areas, the Central Valley as they reiterated their desire to negotiate with the Senate on legislation to help resolve the drought.

Both short- and long-term measures have been considered, including storage authorization provisions in H.R. 3964, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act, which passed the House of Representatives in early February.

The act, sponsored by Rep. David Valadao (R-CA21), looks to provide drought relief, with Title I focusing on Central Valley Project Water Reliability.

House members announced that they plan to hold a field hearing, meaning they will tour drought-impacted areas to demonstrate their commitment to educating Congress on the regulatory loss of water, the need for new storage, and delivering water to dry farms and cities.

"We cannot afford to once again have government devastate the valley's economy. Valley families depend on water,” said U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock). “The Senate must act now."

The sponsor of the act, Valadao (R-CA21), explained that the San Joaquin Valley has suffered from drought conditions, further exhausted by what he referred to as “erroneous federal regulations for several years.”

Expressing his frustration with the Senate’s absence of action, Valadao (R-CA21) reiterated that, for the second time in recent years, California Republicans in the House passed legislation to provide immediate relief and a long-term solution for California’s water issues.

“It is time for the Senate to act so that both Chambers may resolve our differences, find common ground, and move bipartisan, bicameral drought legislation through Congress and to the President’s desk,” said Valadao (R-CA21).

Both Congressmen Devin Nunes (R-CA22) and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA23) described the drought as a “man-made water crisis” addressing their anxiousness to see Majority Leader Harry Reid put California water legislation on the Senate floor.

“The legislation is weak, but its passage would allow the House and Senate to finally begin negotiating a solution to this unmitigated disaster,” said Nunes (R-CA22).

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