Feinstein and Boxer submit drought relief bill

Just as the dry spell let up a bit, the political battle generated by the drought may be easing, as both Democrats and Republicans are now working on ways to help.
February 11, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Federal lawmakers are offering new ways to deal with the statewide drought, just days before President Obama visits the Fresno area.

President Barack Obama is expected to touch down at the airport Friday. He will be joined by a number of lawmakers including Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein. Tuesday the two senators introduced a new bill to help deal with the drought.

Friday President Barack Obama will get a close up look at the statewide drought gripping the Valley. Fresno's Mayor Ashley Swearengin spoke with Action News about the spotlight his visit will put on an ongoing issue.

"I am really grateful the president is coming to California on Friday and I am so grateful he is turning his time and attention to deal with the challenges that we face when it comes to water shortage. It's a very, very scary time for many tens of thousands of people in our city," Swearengin said

The mayor has met the president several times. She attended this immigration speech and was even mentioned by the president last year.

Senator Barbara Boxer's and Senator Dianne Feinstein confirmed they will also meet him during his stop. The senators are now pitching a joint bill to deal with the drought. That measure increases pumping water from the delta and allows more water transfers between farms and irrigation districts.

The legislation also offers $300 million in drought aid. This latest measure follows a previous bill from republican congressman Devin Nunes which already passed the House.

"We are just glad that the Senate has the bill we have been waiting for this moment for about seven years. Finally we got legislation, which hopefully we can move it through the senate," Nunes said

The main difference between both bills is that House version calls for changes in federal laws, while the senators version calls for temporary relief.


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