As communities in the California region that’s home to House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy’s district face water that sometimes literally runs out in connection to wells and an overall local water supply put under immense strain, a new CNN report documents how local residents haven’t seen much of any comprehensive assistance from the Republican Congressman.
Jessi Snyder, who works at the nonprofit organization Self-Help Enterprises and has been involved in transporting water to those going without, bluntly told CNN in reference to the legislator: “In my experience, he has never engaged with us on any of these kinds of emergencies.” McCarthy has been involved in some legislative action on the issue — some of which hasn’t gone anywhere, like a grant program that would help struggling, small communities with connecting to the water supplies of jurisdictions with better access. Yet, he has resisted key initiatives, like the sweeping deal for spending on infrastructure that Biden signed into law earlier in his tenure and the Inflation Reduction Act, which contained numerous provisions to deal with climate change.
Tami McVay, who is also with Self-Help Enterprises, also spoke to the difficulties in obtaining help from McCarthy. She said discussions with McCarthy’s team about residential wells going dry are “slim to none, and I am not saying that to discredit them at all.” California Democratic state Sen. Melissa Hurtado, who it seems is among the multiple current and former legislators more engaged with this than McCarthy, also addressed the problem to CNN, saying: “He’s focused on that leadership position instead of actually working on issues to address the impacts of his district… Quietly, the word out there is it’s been a while that he’s actually delivered something for the region, given his focus on the leadership position. Maybe that’s part of his greater vision for helping this region out.”
Susana De Anda, who leads the nonprofit organization Community Water Center, criticized McCarthy’s basic competence. “We need more solutions beyond storage and dams,” she said. “[McCarthy] lacks understanding of the real critical problems we’re experiencing around the drought and our communities.” She was also critical of the lack of focus on the basic reality of the climate crisis among legislative leaders, a group including McCarthy. CNN provides expansive coverage of the situation at this link.
Now that McCarthy was eventually able to become House Speaker, it’s unclear the next roughly two years of Republican leadership in the House will mean much in terms of actual policy. Democrats are still in the majority in the Senate, and among Republicans, there remains a lot of partisan infighting. Although a lot of these people obviously might be prone to talk a big game and then… nothing, a group of House Republicans pledged to blindly oppose legislative priorities from Senate Republicans who voted for the government spending deal keeping the rhetorical lights on for this fiscal year. The deal passed and was made law — although not before McCarthy himself expressed support for that idea of blocking fellow Republicans’ ambitions.