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Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke on the House floor today to defend against baseless attacks attempting to undermine legislation that would provide drought relief to California.

Full remarks are below or watch online here.

“So, if we’re not pumping the water down, where is it going? It’s going to the ocean. And so, for the last three terms we have tried to solve the water crisis. And every time we’ve heard these same arguments. So, every term we did something different.

“A term ago we got together with Republicans and Democrats and we worked with our Senate leaders on the other side. But when it got time to make a final decision I was told, ‘No, no, we couldn’t do this because it didn’t go through committee and there weren’t enough people in the room.’ So we said, ‘Alright, well, we’ll go back to the drawing board.’

So this time we went through and we put Republicans and Democrats in the room. You know what’s interesting? It just so happens Republicans are in the majority, Democrats are in the minority, but not in that room. There were more Democrats than there were Republicans and we stayed months in there talking. And we came to a lot of agreements. Maybe some people that were in the room won’t say that on the outside, but on the inside they agreed to a lot of pieces of the legislation.

“Well, I will tell you that those pieces we agreed to are in this bill. Because you know what? We listened. We don’t change the Endangered Species Act. We don’t go beyond the biological opinion. So you’re concerned about fish? We say in this piece of legislation to pump higher unless there is a concern in harming of the fish. And you don’t have to come to Congress to change the level of pumping.

“So, those solutions I hear on the floor are in the bill. So, I think it’s about time that we stop making false accusations and actually stand for what we need.

“And you know what in these rooms, I heard a lot about desalinization. And I said, ‘I’ll help with that.’ Because the whole concept of desalinization is we’ll spend a lot of money with a lot of energy to take that ocean water and take the salt out of it and make it fresh water. But don’t you think it would kind of be smart of us first to make sure that our fresh water is not becoming salt water first? That’s all we’re asking here.

“We’re asking let’s live within the biological opinion, we’re protecting the Endangered Species Act, but we’re doing something different in California. We’re planning for the future. We’re planning for those years that you won’t have the big snow pack. We’re planning for the years that California continues to grow. We’re also planning for those people that work in the fields. We’re planning for those people who want to build the homes. Central Valley may be a little different than every place else, but those jobs are just as important as any job anywhere else in California.

“So yes, we have sat in the rooms. Yes, there were more in the minority side than the majority. Yes, we listened to you. And we took what we heard and we put it into a bill. Because the other thing I heard when we couldn’t do this is that it had to be regular order. That’s why it could not be in the omnibus bill even though that was an idea from my Senate colleague in the other house.

“So you know what? This is regular order on the floor of the House with the ideas that we heard, and it’s in the bill.

“I yield back.”