May 25, 2016

Leader McCarthy: With Water, California Can Lead America Again

Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke on the House floor today about California’s great potential to lead America again if we have water policies that actually work for the people.

Full remarks below or watch online here.

“I thank the gentleman for yielding.

“Mr. Speaker, there are places in this world that hold people’s imagination. Washington, D.C., New York City, and Paris. The great rolling plains crossed by American pioneers and the Himalayan Mountains touching into the heavens.

“Now, I was blessed, blessed more than I knew, to grow up in such a place—a place called California. It is so distinctive and impressive, it’s unreal. Warm, sun-drenched beaches. Snow-capped mountains. Great cities, forests, deserts. Farmland growing fruits, nuts, and vegetables stretching as far as the eye can see.

“It’s a place that is always filled with promise and potential. You know, in many ways, California’s history mirrors the history of America. It started as nothing much. But people came and they built it. We grew and prospered. We became the envy of the world.

“And like America, today’s California faces great uncertainty. Some problems are the same, shared by the entire nation. But California and almost the entire western United States are enduring something much worse. The drought. 

“The drought has lingered for years. El Niño helped alleviate some of the problem, but the drought continues. Communities have less water. Farmland that once fed the world now sits dry. People are losing their livelihoods and their hope. There is no way to end the drought, but it doesn’t have to be as bad as it is. Now, water that can be stored is being lost. Bureaucrats release fresh water out to sea. Our most valuable resource is being wasted.

“This matters today because we are considering a bill from our colleagues in the Senate, the Energy Policy Modernization Act. Now, before the Senate passed this bill, they added several provisions, including language to address water issues in Washington State. I have to say, Mr. Speaker, that I’m very happy that the Senate brought this up. After all, if we’re going to address the water issue in Washington State we should address the water issue for the rest of the West.

“So we included in our amendment to the legislation Representative Valadao’s (CA-21) Western Water and American Food Security Act. We passed this last year in the House so we could build more water storage and increase our reservoirs while still allowing water to flow through the Sacramento delta. 

“Water is so necessary for our constituents that we aren’t stopping with this bill. We’ve already began consideration of the Energy and Water appropriations bill, which includes even more provisions to deal with the drought. So there’s a simple message for our Democrat colleagues in the Senate. House Republicans won’t stop. We will keep passing bills until our people get the water they need. Because once we get water, so much of the uncertainty facing California and the entire West will be brushed aside.

“You see, California and America as a whole face a crisis of bad governance. Many look around and see life isn’t getting any better. They wonder if our nation is in decline. But that’s not who we are—not as Americans and not as Californians. Our best days are not behind us. We will not quietly manage our decline. I reject the idea that we’ve reached the heights of our shining city on the hill and that it’s time to come back down to the world of limits and uncertainty.

“The choice is ours to make because as Americans, we write our own future. That’s what this vote means for me and for every Californian. The laws governing water are broken. The bureaucracy is working against the people. The system is holding us back. But this is not how it has to be.

“California has long been a reflection of America’s promise. We also helped America to realize its promise. We’ve led the way in media, technology, agriculture, and even space. Bring the water back, and I know we’ll lead America once again and help to restore hope in our future.

“I yield back.”

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