Rep. LaMalfa, California Republicans Introduce Bipartisan Emergency Water Legislation
Washington, DC – Last night, Congressmen Doug LaMalfa (CA-01) joined Rep. David Valadao (CA-21), with the support of California House Republicans, in introducing water legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives aimed at providing short-term relief from California’s water crisis.
Since May, House Republicans have been working to find a bipartisan compromise between House and Senate legislation aimed at providing drought relief. For months, negotiations between the two Chambers have been ongoing, however, last month Senator Feinstein withdrew from the discussions. In an effort to move forward with an immediate, short term solution, LaMalfa and members of California’s Republican delegation introduced H.R. 5781, the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014. The bill would provide eighteen months of relief (two water years) while protecting the State Water Project and safeguarding Northern California water rights.
Original cosponsors of the legislation include Reps. Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), David G. Valadao (CA-21), Kevin McCarthy (CA-23), Ken Calvert (CA-42), Jim Costa (CA-16), Tom McClintock (CA-04), and Devin Nunes (CA-22).
“This limited bill includes noncontroversial language to address California’s drought immediately and it is imperative that we act this year. The provisions are a starting point to build toward a comprehensive solution to address California’s water supply issues, and we remain ready to continue working with the Senate on a long term agreement,” said Rep. LaMalfa.
Rep. Valadao stated, “This well thought out, common sense legislation contains no controversial measures for either Party. Not only will this legislation provide a temporary eighteen month solution, it will also help ensure negotiations between the Senate and the House continue.” He went on, “I will not let this year end without exhausting ever possible option to bring relief to the Central Valley.”
Rep. McCarthy said, “California is currently facing the worst drought in a century, which has led to barren farms and drastic water shortages in our communities. Families, businesses, and farmers are in desperate need for water and this bill represents the House’s unwavering commitment to provide immediate relief, especially during the first few storms of the water year. This bill contains provisions from the original Senate-passed water bill and from the House’s negotiations with the Senate. For the sake of the people of California, we can no longer delay action to alleviate the pain from harmful government policies that put the well-being of fish above people. While this represents an important first step, the House will continue to work towards a long-term solution to California’s man-made water crisis.”
“Cities, towns, rural homes, schools and churches are running dry. House Leadership understands that action needs to be taken before Congress adjourns. We are offering a compromise based on the Senate water bill in a further demonstration that a bipartisan majority in the House is both willing and able to act,” said Rep. Devin Nunes.
Rep. Calvert said, "California is facing a crisis that demands action. This short-term bill, comprised of negotiated text, will provide just a piece of the legislative fix that our state so desperately needs. I appreciate the effort Senator Feinstein put forth in negotiating and look forward to working towards a permanent sensible solution."
“H.R. 5781 will provide immediate relief to California communities suffering from one of the worst droughts in recorded history. This proposal is a good faith effort to exhaust every conceivable option available before Congress adjourns for the year,” stated Rep. McClintock.
Rep. Costa said, “This bipartisan legislation offers a common-sense solution to a long-term problem. The Valley has suffered far too long because of our broken water system,” said Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16). “This bill will allow us to take advantage of increased flows through the delta and provide much-needed water to our Valley’s families and farms. California’s water needs must be addressed, and this legislation provides us with one more tool to bring relief to the San Joaquin Valley.”
Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.