House of Action: Week of July 13 – July 17

/ Wednesday, 29 July 2015 / Published in 2015, Blog

GOP Water Bill Does Nothing to Solve California’s Drought

This week the only major piece of legislation before the House was H.R. 2898, this year’s version of the infamous water grab brought to us by Republican Congressman David Valadao. The bill would override the state’s ability to carefully allocate the precious water supply and simply ship all available water South. It would raise the salinity levels of the Delta to a damaging degree to groundwater and local marinas, and make the Delta more stagnant. I argued strenuously against the bill. Click here to take a minute to watch my remarks. Our two California Senators oppose this bill and the Obama Administration has threatened to veto. It has no chance of becoming law, and is therefore an anti-environmental message bill.

H.R. 2898 Opposition Floor Remarks

While I did oppose the bill, I did propose an amendment to H.R. 2898 to include water hyacinth as an invasive species that needs a cooperative federal, state, and local approach. Managing water hyacinth is an important issue locally and we need to do everything possible to limit its expansion. I was thrilled that it passed unanimously. 

Obama Administration Announces Iran Nuclear Deal

The other big issue this week was the treaty to limit Iran’s ability to develop and build nuclear weapons. Vice President Biden came to the Hill to address the House Democratic Caucus. He made a very strong case to support the treaty, but I still have some doubts and will continue to listen to all sides and make the best decision I can within the 60 days Congress has to either approve or reject the treaty.

Veteran Employee Civil Service Protections

The Veterans’ Affairs Committee heard a markup of a bill proposed by Chairman Miller to change the status of VA employees to at-will, meaning they would not have the same protections afforded to other civil service employees. Although I certainly appreciate the Chairman’s concern about the difficulty of terminating poorly performing employees, I am afraid that this may cause more harm than good when it comes to the VA’s performance level to serve our veterans, and I will work with the Chairman to find a less drastic approach to improving the VA before this bill comes to the House floor.

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