Still, the action highlights the growing interest on Capitol Hill in trying to do something about the water shortage, a potentially hot issue in this year's elections. Democratic lawmakers are calling for hearings and hurriedly drafting legislation of their own.
The House bill would, among other things, roll back environmental protections and halt restoration of a dried-up stretch of the San Joaquin River that is designed to revive salmon runs. It was approved on a largely party-line 229-191 vote.
“We have listened to the environmental left for 40 years, and this is where it’s gotten us,’’ said Rep.
Democrats responded by saying that the problem is lack of rain.
“It would be more productive for this body to join in a rain dance on the floor today than to pass this bill,’’ said Rep.
Feinstein and Boxer are drafting their own drought-relief measure.
The House bill, dubbed the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act, was sponsored by all 15 California GOP congressmen.
It is similar to a Republican-written bill that passed the House in 2012 only to die in the
The legislation, unveiled a few weeks ago at a Central Valley news conference featuring House Speaker
Environmental groups decried the measure as a "wholesale assault on California's environment, native fisheries, and the thousands of jobs that depend on healthy fisheries and rivers, while providing no durable solutions to effectively addressing California's water needs.''
The White House said if the bill makes it to President