Angry California Republicans Call Drought Bill Dead for the Year

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

Angry California Republicans threw in the towel late Thursday, conceding that a California water bill that had divided the state was dead for the year.

In a remarkably acrimonious ending to negotiations that once seemed close to bearing fruit, GOP House members acknowledged the bill’s failure while putting the blame squarely on California’s two Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.

“It’s dead, unfortunately,” Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona, said in an interview Thursday afternoon, adding in a later statement that “our good-faith negotiations came to naught.”

The utter collapse of negotiations means a California water package – that in its latest manifestation spanned 92 pages – will not be slipped into a much larger, must-pass omnibus federal spending package needed …

Feinstein continues to block necessary water project

cadiz water projectThe Democrats are at it again. They’re pushing back on the Republican controlled Congress, who is attempting to limit earmarks from being added to the omnibus spending bill. This action – known as policy riders – explains specifically what funding cannot be used on.

While Democrats relied on policy riders extensively in the past, especially in the area of “environmental protection,” having a Republican-controlled Congress has left the Democrats squalling at the practice. If the Republicans are going to undermine the Democratic agenda by implementing their own policy riders, the Democrats are completely against the practice all together, even though they have fought this fight for the last 15 years by using policy riders to protect the EPA.

These policy riders have had an absolutely detrimental impact on California, especially during the severe drought. Senator Feinstein has abused her position on the Appropriates Committee to make sure an important water project in Southern California, known as the Cadiz Valley Water Project, would fail to be built.

The Cadiz Valley Water Project is a no brainer for drought-stricken California.

According to the Environmental Impact Report, a requirement under California’s Environmental Quality Act of 1970, around 400,000 people could benefit from the project, which would provide over 16 million gallons of drinking water.

The Cadiz property is located in the Mohave Desert, between the I-10 and I-40 freeways. The plan calls for the construction of a 43-mile pipeline, which would supply water to the Colorado River Aqueduct from the Cadiz property.

When Cadiz attempted to start the project in the early 2000s with their original partner, Metropolitan Water District, Feinstein used policy riders in the fiscal year 2007 spending bill that blocked Cadiz from receiving any funding.

Senator Feinstein, however, has utilized policy riders in the annual federal spending bill in order to force the federal government to interfere with railroad property rights, which directly impacts Cadiz’s partner, the Arizona & California Railroad. She did this to block the Cadiz Valley Water Project’s funding for federal review, should one be required.

This is the definition of government overreach and politics as usual. Seemingly frustrated that the project’s review doesn’t include Washington bureaucrats, Feinstein has tried to sabotage a project that could provide Southern California with a new water supply. And at what cost?

Feinstein went out of her way to target Cadiz and their ultimate goal of supplying Southern California with water. She can’t attempt to argue against her blatant sabotage.

With California in desperate need of water to sustain our way of life – and no, I’m not talking about the fish – this project should have been pushed forward years ago. If it had been, we would have the added benefit to help battle the current drought.

Boondoggle Alert: CA’s Politicians Pretend Private Investors Want In On High-Speed Rail

high speed rail trainIn November 2008, California voters narrowly approved Proposition 1A, which provided $9.95 billion in government money for a statewide bullet-train network. The initiative passed, even though the California High-Speed Rail Authority had been legally required to release a detailed, updated business plan by October 1 of that year, so that voters would have time to learn exactly how the state planned to finance what was then billed as a $43 billion project—and no updated plan was in view. Rail officials failed even to release a preliminary report before the election, claiming that state legislators’ long delay in passing the fiscal 2008–09 budget made doing so impossible.

Within days of Prop. 1A’s passage, however, the High-Speed Rail Authority at last released the plan. Just as critics had predicted, the document insisted that private investment would be easy to come by. All investors needed, the plan said, was “financial and political commitments from state officials that government would share the risks to their participation.” In other words, if California promised that taxpayers would guarantee ridership and revenue, then investors would come flocking. The problem? Prop. 1A explicitly banned taxpayer subsidies for the bullet-train project. Had the business plan been released before the election, it would have undercut the “no-downside” narrative offered by the project’s political champions, including Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Since then, rail-authority leaders have continued to pretend that massive private investment is just around the corner. Initially, these claims were buttressed by vague generalizations. In recent years, however, the authority has tried to suggest that contractors interested in working on the now-$68 billion project might also be willing to help finance it. Most reporters on the state government beat have swallowed these claims uncritically. A July 2014 San Jose Mercury-News story noted that “a deal that will send the project hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees collected from polluters is the signal the private sector was waiting for.” But here’s what the coverage usually leaves out: the private-sector companies sniffing around the bullet-train project never invest without government promises to step in if things don’t go according to plan.

Only Ralph Vartabedian of the Los Angeles Times appears to understand that the project probably won’t get the funding it needs without taxpayer subsidies. “Major construction, equipment and engineering firms around the world, responding to a solicitation to form a partnership with the California high-speed rail project, have raised serious concerns about the state’s shortage of funding, the potential need for long-term operating subsidies and whether the project can meet the current construction schedule,” he reported last month. “The appeal for financial and technical partners drew responses from across Europe, Asia and the U.S. But none of the companies expressed a readiness to invest their own money, and some included reservations about the risks.”

Vartabedian’s analysis, and his paper’s in-depth look at the bullet-train project detailing how state rail-authority officials buried a report predicting a $9 billion cost overrun on the initial 300-mile segment, have shaken up California public-policy circles. The Times coverage seems certain to trigger legislative hearings. State Senate president Kevin de León, a Los Angeles Democrat, has already expressed his skepticism about the project, as has Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, who wants to be governor. What was shaping up as one of the world’s biggest government boondoggles might yet be averted at a cost of only a few billion—which sounds like a bargain, compared with digging the financial hole still deeper.

Long Road Ahead With Feinstein’s Drought Relief Bill

With the latest numbers showing a drop in California water consumption, attention has turned to a new drought relief bill introduced by Golden State U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.

water spigotThe figures eclipsed earlier embarrassments faced by water districts where consumption actually spiked, sometimes for unknown reasons. “California’s urban water districts cut consumption by 27.3 percent in June,” the Wall Street Journal observed, “exceeding a tough new state mandate to reduce their combined use by 25 percent amid a prolonged drought. The savings compared with the same month in 2013 came despite June being the hottest month on record in the Golden State, officials from the State Water Resources Control Board reported Thursday.”

Partisan jockeying

In a statement, Feinstein tried to tempter expectations behind her renewed push for relief. Some analysts expect Republican opposition over its high cost and environmental protections. “I’ve introduced a lot of bills over the years, and this one may be the most difficult, and a warming climate will only make things worse,” she said. “I’m hopeful the bill we’re introducing today will serve as a template for the kinds of short-term and long-term solutions California needs to address this devastating drought.”

But some Democrats have become concerned that Feinstein’s effort cedes excessive ground on environmental regulations, hewing too closely to previous relief plans that wound up losing Boxer’s support. Feinstein had determined that the drought crisis was severe enough to justify negotiating with House Republicans — a maneuver that undermined her support within her own party, causing her to abandon the push.

This time around, revealing Boxer’s support for the rejiggered bill “surprised some stakeholders who saw the negotiations fall apart late last year over proposed changes to endangered species protections,” according to E&E Daily. Although Boxer said she was “pleased to be sponsoring” Feinstein’s new bill “because of the enormity of this crisis,” other Democrats, such as Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., warned they were “very concerned about some provisions included in the bill that are similar to the House Republican water legislation” that drove Boxer away to begin with.

A long road

That legislation was H.R. 2898, introduced by Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif. As the Sacramento Bee recounted, the bill would have supplied farmers south of the Delta with more water and sped up the federal approvals process, where stringent environmental rules can sometimes grind water and infrastructure plans to a virtual halt. Hurried along late last year during the lame-duck session of Congress, it sailed through the House with staunch Republican support, but provoked president Obama to threaten a veto, and drew strong criticism from California’s delegation of Democrats in both houses of Congress.

Feinstein herself finally caved. “There are several other provisions that would waive environmental protections that need to be changed before I could support them,” she explained, according to the Bee. “I have said all along that I will not support a bill that would waive these protections, and that remains true today.”

Now, her aim has been to replace “some provisions disliked by environmental groups” with “some of their priorities, such as a greater focus on recycling,” according to the Associated Press. “Feinstein said the shift changes the emphasis of the bill from a short-term effort to a long-term one. She said her bill would cost an estimated $1.3 billion over 10 years.”

But even assuming Feinstein could placate environmentalists and other Democrats, she recognized that the bill’s fate could well hinge on a single Republican colleague. In the machinations of Senate lawmaking, Feinstein’s objective has been to package her bill inside of planned legislation to be introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “That Murkowski bill is likely to serve as a vehicle for several state-specific drought relief measures, as well as overarching federal policy changes,” E&E Daily confirmed.

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Dianne Feinstein helped keep drones with CIA

As reported by Politico:

Nearly two years ago, President Barack Obama called for moving the drone war from the CIA to the Defense Department to give the controversial counterterrorism program greater oversight.

But it hasn’t happened.

Then-Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein expressed concerns, and intelligence sources say she inserted a classified amendment in a spending bill last year requiring that the administration certify that giving the Pentagon a greater role would not have negative impacts on the war on terrorism.

Feinstein’s office declined to comment on the classified amendment, but the White House, in response to the amendment, has been slow to make any changes.

Click here to read the full article

Support strengthening for assisted suicide in CA

In a medical community sharply divided on the issue of assisted suicide, momentum has shifted to the side that embraces the idea — with California at the forefront of the change. Two Golden State doctors with life-threatening illnesses have recently become plaintiffs in a lawsuit aimed at shielding physicians from legal liability “if they prescribe lethal medications to patients who are both terminally ill and mentally competent to decide their fate.”

Changing mores among MDs

For disability-rights advocates like Marilyn Golden, senior policy analyst at the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, “the marriage of a profit-driven healthcare system and legalized aid in dying sets up dangerous possibilities,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “She warned of a scenario in which insurers might deny or delay life-sustaining treatments and a patient ‘is steered toward assisted suicide.’”

But views among doctors have moved strongly toward accepting illness-driven suicide. A recent nationwide poll conducted by the Medscape Ethics Center showed that 54 percent of respondents agreed that medically-assisted suicide should be permitted — an 8 percent increase in support among American doctors over the past five years.

The numbers showed how sharply and deeply the divide among physicians has become. “Historically, doctors have been some of the most vocal critics of assisted suicide,” The Atlantic recently noted.

“The American Medical Association still says that ‘physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer.’ Similarly, the California Medical Association takes the view that helping patients die conflicts with doctors’ commitment to do no harm. ‘It is the physicians’ job to take care of the patient and that is amplified when that patient is most sick,’ said a spokeswoman, Molly Weedn.”

A legislative push

Dianne_Feinstein,_official_Senate_photo_2With the shift in medical opinion, political support has also increased. While the doctors’ lawsuit makes its way through the courts, Sacramento Democrats have begun to advance legislation that would go even further. In a letter to state Sens. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, and Bill Monning, D-Carmel, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., gave her stamp of approval to Senate Bill 128, the so-called California End of Life Option Act:

“The right to die with dignity is an option that should be available for every chronically suffering terminally ill consenting adult in California. I share your concern that terminally ill California residents currently do not have the option to obtain end-of-life medication if their suffering becomes unbearable. As a result they may well experience terrible pain until their illness has taken their life naturally.”

The bill “would allow mentally competent California residents with less than six months to live obtain physician-prescribed lethal drugs that they’d administer themselves,” according to the Los Angeles Times. “A patient would need two doctors to confirm the illness was terminal. Also required: two oral requests 15 days apart and a written version witnessed by two people. Physicians, pharmacists and healthcare facilities could opt out. Those participating would be protected against lawsuits. Coercing a patient would be a felony.”

SB128 recently passed through the Senate Health Committee, which viewed a video message prepared by the activist Brittany Maynard, who moved to Oregon from California last year in order to end her life in accordance with that state’s assisted-suicide law.

“Before she died, Maynard recorded testimony in favor of passing such a law in California,” Reuters reported. “I am heartbroken that I had to leave behind my home, my community, and my friends in California, but I am dying and I refuse to lose my dignity,” Maynard said in the video. “I refuse to subject myself and my family to purposeless, prolonged pain and suffering at the hands of an incurable disease.”

A bellwether in the making

The assisted-suicide movement has positioned itself well to exploit a potential success in California. In addition to Oregon, Washington and Vermont also legally permit the practice. “Courts in New Mexico and Montana also have ruled that aid in dying is legal, and a suit was also recently filed in New York,” according to The Atlantic.

Originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Kevin McCarthy: Bipartisan effort needed to deal with drought

The current drought in California is devastating. The order from the governor should not only alarm Californians, but the entire nation should take notice that the most productive agriculture state in the country has entered uncharted territory. We have experienced extreme drought conditions in years past but thanks to the most sophisticated water system in the country that captured and stored water during the wet years for use during the dry years, our communities and farmers survived.‎ Unfortunately, state officials have turned their back on this proven infrastructure system.

The order is the culmination of failed federal and state policies that have exacerbated the current drought into a man-made water crisis. Sacramento and Washington have chosen to put the well-being of fish above the well-being of people by refusing to capture millions of acre-feet of water during wet years for use during dry years.

These policies imposed on us now, and during wet seasons of the past, are leaving our families, businesses, communities, and state high and dry. These rules and regulations must be changed.

My House colleagues and I have acted aggressively to enact legislation that would have helped protect us from the current situation. In 2011, and again in early 2014, the House passed comprehensive water legislation to increase the amount of water we could capture and store. Unfortunately, the Obama and Brown Administrations and Senators Boxer and Feinstein opposed these proposals. As the drought continued to worsen, the House passed emergency drought legislation in December of 2014 to allow us to capture storm and rainwater from early season storms. That too was blocked by the Senate.

I’m from the Central Valley and we know that we cannot conserve or ration our way out of this drought. It is time for action, and House Republicans are developing another legislative proposal to help put California water policy back on the path to commonsense. Given the announcement, this time I hope Governor Brown, Senator Boxer, and Senator Feinstein will join my colleagues and me in this effort.

Kevin McCarthy is the Majority Leader, United States Congress

Originally published on Fox and Hounds Daily

Condoleezza Rice Will Not Run For Senate — Despite Widespread Support

Political pundits and strategists finally are taking seriously that, despite topping polls, Condoleezza Rice is not running for the U.S. Senate. The decision by the former U.S. secretary of state puts California Republicans back on their heels. For the state GOP, the hunt is very much on for a heavyweight who could vault over the Democrats’ field of contenders in the race to replace retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer.

The opening Boxer will create in 2016 has attracted frenetic attention in California. So far Attorney General Kamala Harris successfully has kept competitors in her own party from declaring candidacies of their own. Nevertheless, challengers are expected — especially Latinos from Southern California — and the Republicans to step forward so far face a decidedly uphill climb.

Top Republicans, the Daily Caller reported, have shown an interest in Rice since at least January. In what some interpreted as a politician’s act of being coy, Rice permitted her staff to say in mid-February she was staying put in academia. “The poll doesn’t change her position about running for Senate,” Chief of staff Georgia Godfrey said at the time via email. “She plans to stay at Stanford.”

In another disavowal, Godfrey used even sharper language. “It’s not even a consideration,” he emailed The Hill. “She’s happy here at Stanford!”

But in late February, The Hill reported, the Black Conservatives Fund tried to nudge her toward the race anyway, distributing a fundraising email to back up the polling with donated cash. The email itself enthused:

“Condi is a true American success story. Her father was a minister. She’s an accomplished pianist, diplomat, and a role model for millions. But the best news of all is that if she runs, she can steal California’s U.S. Senate seat from the Democrats.”

A former provost of Stanford University, Rice has taken on what are now three concurrent titles: Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business; Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution; and professor of political science.

Hopes dashed

As Reuters reported, a Field Poll released last month showed Rice with a somewhat surprising lead against the entire field of possible candidates to replace Boxer. Rice sat atop the pack with 49 percent support. At the time, the poll listed 18 possible candidates, including some who have since bowed out, such as former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

But it raised hopes for California Republicans. In several election cycles past, they have put their party’s statewide fortunes in the hands of big-name would-be saviors, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO who now heads Hewlett-Packard.

An unclear path

On the other hand, enthusiasm for Rice could have been tempered by the state GOP’s track record with star candidates lacking in political experience. Although former HP chief Carly Fiorina has gone on to indicate she might seek the Republican nomination for president, she floundered in her own 2010 Senate bid in California. Whitman’s failed campaign cost her $140 million that same year.

And Schwarzenegger’s tenure in Sacramento was ultimately judged by many in the party to have been more trouble than it was worth. Some insiders viewed it as a squandered opportunity to rebuild the party and anoint a political heir — two items that seemed not to top Schwarzenegger’s own agenda.

With Rice gone, however, the fact remains that the current crop of would-be GOP challengers ranked at the bottom of the Field Poll. Although one poll cannot decide a race before it begins, the results reinforced a solidifying perception that someone of great stature was required to beat Harris.

The Field Poll’s results, for instance, did not even place Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, who last November lost a race for state controller, in the lead among Republicans not named Rice. Swearengin finished with 22 percent “inclined” to support her, just after former state Sen. Phil Wyman, at 24 percent.

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Here’s the full list from the Field Poll:

field poll us senate 2016

Boxer Exit Begins CA Youth Shift in Congress

Girls may run the world, as in the Beyonce song, but women run California’s congressional delegation. More specifically, older Democratic women — but that could change soon.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s retirement announcement earlier this month kicks off a major demographic shift in California’s congressional delegation, as aging Democratic women move closer to retirement. Democratic women are the oldest group in California’s congressional delegation from both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

California’s Congressional Delegation: Democratic women oldest group

The 104 women in the 114th Congress make up 19 percent of the members. In California, that percentage doubles — with women claiming 21 of 55 slots, or 38 percent.

Those numbers don’t tell the full story. There’s only one Republican woman from California in Congress, Rep. Mimi Walters of Orange County. Twenty Democratic women represent California in Washington, D.C. — near parity with their 21 Democratic male counterparts. Yet that parity is likely in jeopardy due to one factor: age.

At 81 years old, Dianne Feinstein is the oldest member of the United States Senate. She isn’t alone. Of the 15 members of California’s congressional delegation that are 68 years old or older, Democratic women take up 11 slots. The average age of California’s representatives in the 114th Congress, including both U.S. Senators, is 59 years old. For Democratic women, that figure jumps nearly a decade to 67 years old.

Even when you exclude Boxer and Feinstein from the tally and just go with House members, Democrats from California bring up the average age of the delegation. Five of the six oldest members of California’s congressional delegation are Democratic women:

  • Rep Grace Napolitano of El Monte, age 78;
  • Lois Capps of Santa Barbara, age 77;
  • Maxine Waters of Los Angeles, age 76;
  • House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, age 74;
  • Lucille Roybal-Allard of Commerce, age 73.

Rep. Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach, another 73-year-old California Democrat, is a few months older than Roybal-Allard.

year of the woman

1992 Year of the Woman

Many of California’s Democratic women first claimed a spot in Congress in 1992’s “Year of the Woman.” While the history books highlight the record number of women elected to the U.S. Senate, California also sent Lynn Schenk, Jane Harman, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Anna Eshoo and Lynn Woolsey to the House of Representatives.

Robin Swanson, a California political strategist who has worked for the state’s top Democratic politicians, is optimistic that California is ready for another wave of women.

“We’re long overdue for another Year of the Woman,” she said.

More Democratic retirements around the corner

The remaining members of the class of 1992 are now among the oldest members of Congress and are, obviously, more likely to retire.

When asked about a possible retirement in 2016, Napolitano’s office was unambiguous. “Congresswoman Napolitano is not retiring,” said Jerry O’Donnell, her press secretary. “She plans to run for re-election.”  Despite her advancing years, Napolitano isn’t slowing down. Last week, she reintroduced H.R. 291, “W21: Water in the 21st Century,” a plan to provide “new incentives and investments to help local water agencies, residents and businesses to conserve, recycle and manage limited water supplies.”

A spokesperson for Capps was less emphatic, saying it was still too early to know whether the eight-term Central Coast congresswoman would call it quits this term.

“It’s been less than two weeks since the 114th Congress began, so her focus isn’t on 2016 yet,” said Capps’ spokesperson Chris Meagher. Her focus is “on representing the people of the Central Coast and fighting for the issues they care about.”

Intra-party challengers not waiting for retirements

Even if Capps and Napolitano decide to seek reelection, they could face upstart intra-party challengers —  thanks to California’s Top Two primary system. Older House Democrats have faced spirited challengers from younger politicians in the last two election cycles.

In 2012, then 80-year-old Rep. Pete Stark was unseated by fellow Democrat and 31-year-old challenger Eric Swalwell. Last November, Ro Khanna came within a few points of knocking off 73-year-old Rep. Mike Honda.

Age was a clear factor in both races, where the younger challengers portrayed the seasoned veterans as out-of-touch, especially on technological issues. Honda, according to emails obtained by San Jose Inside, needed his government staff’s help to “set up his personal Netflix account.”

In 2016, state-level politicians eager to move up California’s political food chain could get impatient, knowing un-elected Democratic challengers, such as Swalwell and Khanna, have cut in line.

Shift in Congressional demographics: 113th to 114th Congress

The 113th Congress, according to the Congressional Research Service:

  • An overwhelming majority of Members of Congress with a college education.
  • The dominant professions of Members are public service/politics, business and law.
  • Most Members identify as Christians, and Protestants collectively constitute the majority religious affiliation.
  • Roman Catholics account for the largest single religious denomination, and numerous other affiliations are represented.

In the 114th Congress, according to The Hill:

  • There is a record number of female lawmakers at 104, alongside 430 men, following the departure of former Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.).
  • Lawmakers have an average age of 57. The Senate is older than the House, with an average age of 61 to the lower chamber’s 57.
  • Democrats on average are older than Republicans in both chambers, at 62 to 60 in the Senate and 59 to 54 in the House.

This article was originally published on CalWatchdog.com

GOP Can’t Find Bridge For Troubled Water Bill

The fate of a bipartisan drought bill passed Tuesday by the U.S. House of Representatives is as cloudy as California skies in recent days. The bill was crafted by GOP congressmen with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., although she opposed the final version.

But even if the bill didn’t face certain drowning in the U.S. Senate, President Obama has pledged to veto it. So drought relief floats into 2015, when Republicans will add to their control of the House the control of the Senate.

What happened? Acrimony between Democrats and Republicans in the House poisoned the well in the Senate. Every California Democrat in the House whose district includes parts of the Delta region voted to reject the bill. As the Sacramento Bee reported, “These Democrats say they were cut out from the negotiations. At one point, Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., said House Republicans refused to brief California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer when she insisted on inviting House Democrats.”

Behind closed doors earlier this year, Feinstein secretly had carried out painstaking negotiations with California’s Republican delegation to the House of Representatives. Last month, Democrats and environmental activists pushed Feinstein to abandon her own water bill.

Last-minute labors

Despite the problems in the Senate and over the  objections of environmentalists, California Republicans introduced the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014. It was sponsored by Rep. David Valadao of Hanford, who was joined by Rep. Doug LaMalfa of Redding, Rep. Ken Calvert of Riverside and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield. McCarthy has made the bill a top priority as the 2014 legislative session hastened to a close.

The bill cleared the minimum bar for bipartisanship by including Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, among its co-sponsors.

But Feinstein’s troubles with Democrats drowned out bipartisanship. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has forcefully condemned the new bill. According to KPCC:

“LaMalfa says the legislation reflects agreements on particular issues they reached with Senator Feinstein.

“‘Some of our other Senators are standing in the way of that,’ says LaMalfa, a reference to Boxer, who heads the Senate environment committee.”

But Feinstein will be expected by Democrats to use her power in the Senate to sink the House bill — even though it includes language from the draft legislation she negotiated with the California Republicans in the first place.

Hoping to navigate the controversy without further embarrassment, Feinstein was restrained in her comments. “It’s my hope that we’ll reach agreement on legislation that can pass both the House and the Senate and enact a bill that moves water to Californians suffering from the drought and helps all of the state while not waiving environmental protections,” she said, according to the Bee.

As the San Francisco Chronicle observed, however, Feinstein made clear she favored acting quickly because of her diminished clout in next year’s Congress, when Democrats switch from majority to minority status.

Remarkably, Sen. Boxer had co-sponsored with Feinstein the Senate bill that became the basis of Feinstein’s negotiations with California’s House Republicans. But environmentalists and other liberal activists will find it harder to criticize Feinstein or Boxer as their legislative influence fades.

Troubled waters

For Republicans, that has put drought relief on the agenda for 2015.

Obama likely will be inclined to veto a bill next year as well. But he will face an emboldened Republican majority and a weakened delegation of California Democrats.

He also will have much on his agenda in other areas over which to battle Republicans: the budget, taxes, immigration, wars and crime.

As President Clinton  showed when Republicans took control of Congress in 1995, sometimes it’s easier for a president to cut deals with the other party when it’s in the majority, than to deal with intramural struggles within his own party.

Meanwhile, 3,000 miles from Washington, despite the recent rains, California still needs drought relief.

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com