Local Politics

Friday, Feb 07 2014 05:14 PM

McCarthy touts water bill, says mistrust thwarted immigration action

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, addresses the media regarding water issues at the Kern County Water Agency. He also commented about immigration. At right is Ted Page, president of the Kern County Water Agency.

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Congressman Kevin McCarthy got an update on the water situation in Kern County Friday and it wasn’t pretty.

“I don’t think people understand the catastrophic pain that’s looming,” said Kern County Water Association Board President Ted Page in a press conference after he and other agency officials met with McCarthy.

The Department of Water Resources recently announced that for the first time in its history, the State Water Project would not deliver any water this year from the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta due to devastating drought conditions.

McCarthy touted a bill he, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, and David Valadao, R-Hanford, introduced and which was passed last week by the House.

The bill would essentially gut a settlement agreement on restoring the San Joaquin River and reinstate delta pumping to 1994 levels. Both ideas have been previously rejected by the Senate.

Even so, McCarthy said, the bill has prompted California’s senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, both Democrats, to work up their own water bill, which he considered forward motion.

“If they don’t like our bill, OK,” he said. “If we don’t like their bill, I don’t care what they pass. We can at least see where they stand and go to conference committee from there.”

McCarthy also answered questions about House Speaker John Boehner’s announcement Thursday that the GOP would not tackle immigration reform this year.

His take was that President Barack Obama essentially can’t be trusted with a reform package.

“There are doubts on both sides of the aisle based on the president’s actions.”

That is an apparent reference to Obama’s picking and choosing of which parts of the Affordable Care Act would be implemented.

“If we passed a bill, we’re doubtful the president would enforce all aspects,” McCarthy said.

He denied that he and the speaker simply couldn’t corral the more conservative members of his party, saying that was an “easy” target but not true.

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