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Obama to visit Fresno to discuss drought response

WASHINGTON--President Obama will travel to Fresno next week to highlight federal efforts aimed at helping farmers and others hit by a severe drought.

A White House official said Obama will visit the Central Valley city Feb. 14. The White House already had announced Obama's plans to meet with Jordan's King Abdullah II at the Sunnylands estate near Palm Springs that day.  

Obama’s visit comes as interest on Capitol Hill in taking action to alleviate California’s water crisis grows.

The Republican-controlled House passed a bill Wednesday dubbed a response to the drought, but the measure faces a White House veto threat.

Democrats have attacked the House legislation for rolling back environmental protections. They have called for hearings and begun work on a separate measure.

Republican David Valadao, who represents part of Fresno County and other parts of the Central Valley, said in a statement Friday night that he was "cautiously optimistic" that Obama understood the seriousness of the drought, which threatens water supplies to agriculture and urban areas.

"I stand ready to work with anyone, including the president, who is serious and willing to work to secure a reliable, clean water supply for the Central Valley,” he said.

Obama called California Gov. Jerry Brown last week to offer help in drought relief. Obama vowed to provide “the necessary federal support to the state and local efforts,” according to a White House statement.

Kathleen.hennessey@latimes.com

Twitter: @khennessey

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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