Congressman Garamendi Votes against Flawed Western Water Bill and Calls for Reaching Common Ground

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) voted against H.R. 2898, another partisan California water bill that overall would make California’s bad water situation even worse. At the same time, Garamendi acknowledged a few positive aspects of the legislation and reiterated a forceful call to find common ground to benefit all Californians. The bill passed the House by a vote of 245-176 with almost all the support coming from House Republicans.

Garamendi offered an amendment to H.R. 2898 that would install a virtual fish screen at the Delta Cross Channel Gates, in order to protect fish while allowing the flow of fresh water through the Delta. The House Majority failed to adopt this commonsense measure.

Garamendi issued the following statement:

"At its core, this bill is part of a partisan campaign that sounds like a broken record. Yet again, the House brings up legislation that tries to steal Northern California water and send it to part of the Western San Joaquin Valley. H.R. 2898 would imperil jobs in fishing, small businesses in the tourism sector, and agriculture in the Delta region while devastating the environment.

"The bill dictates pumping requirements, recklessly ignoring scientific data and the need for flexibility to meet current conditions. H.R. 2898 is radical legislation that overrides state and federal environmental and water law.

"However, the bill does contain some provisions that would benefit our entire state, including the creation of new water storage. I urge my colleagues to cross the partisan and regional divide. Let’s work with all parties to find solutions that work for all Californians. We can do this – as we have with the water bond, which has support across parties and across the state. Let’s build on that success. The Governor’s California Water Action Plan and my Water Plan for All of California offer us a way forward. We can also look to Congressman Huffman’s Drought Relief and Resilience Act, which I coauthored. Our state and our region desperately need us to step up to the plate."

Both California Senators oppose H.R. 2898 as currently written with Senator Boxer saying the bill "would only reignite the water wars" and Senator Feinstein noting the bill includes "some provisions that would violate environmental law, which I’ve said many times I cannot support." The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy saying it would veto the bill.