Reps. Jim Costa and Dennis Cardoza called for true bipartisanship to bring a real solution to California's water challenges during consideration of H.R. 1837, the San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives. Although Costa and Cardoza voted in support of the legislation, they cited a lack of bipartisanship as a warning sign that the bill stands little chance of clearing the U.S. Senate. Both lawmakers urged meaningful cooperation between Republicans and Democrats to bring forth legislation that could actually be signed into law and, in turn, bring additional water to the San Joaquin Valley.
"This bill, like so many others that we vote on, is far from perfect, but I supported it because of the many important provisions within it. Without an adequate water supply, agricultural fields go fallow and entire communities are laid to waste," said Congressman Cardoza. "However, this is a perfect example of how dysfunctional Congress has become. It is a shame that even while knowing how important the water crisis is to the entire Valley and the state of California, the authors of this bill never engaged me, Congressman Costa, or Senator Feinstein in drafting a bipartisan piece of legislation that can pass both chambers of Congress."
"Our very livelihood in the Valley depends on water so finding real solutions to our water challenges should be our top priority," said Costa. "However, some made the calculation that scoring political points was more important than producing tangible results for our Valley. Rather than doing the hard work of reaching across the aisle to craft a truly bipartisan bill that could have been signed into law, we have passed legislation that is unlikely to see the light of day in the Senate."
H.R. 1837 is not the only legislation before Congress that would address California's water challenges. Costa and Cardoza are both sponsors of H.R. 1251, the More Water for Our Valley Act, which would provide congressional direction for the implementation of the Endangered Species Act and restore balance to water management in California. The More Water for Our Valley Act would provide additional certainty to the Valley's water supply while long-term solutions like the Bay Delta Conservation Plan are carried out.