Congressional update with David Valadao


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — 17 News’ Jim Scott dug into congressional issues including the 2020 Biological Opinions, infrastructure bills, Senator Joe Manchin, and immigration with Congressman David Valadao in a one-on-one interview.

The interview came after last week’s letter from Valadao and other GOP members of congress to the House Natural Resources Committee and the Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee calling for a formal oversight hearing regarding 2020’s Biological Opinions put in place by the Trump Administration. The Biden Administration will reevaluate the Biological Opinions, effectively putting a halt to the 2020 Biological Opinions plans. Valadao called the halt of the 2020 Biological Opinions by the Biden Administration an “anti-science water grab.”

“No I have not heard from either, the administration on this or the the committee chairs that the letters were written to,” Valadao said. “I do believe this is a legitimate cause for them to do their job, which is provide oversight over the federal government and make sure things are being done the right way.”

The 2020 Biological Opinions framed the plans to distribute water to Southern California from the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta in hopes to protect endangered species and keep water flowing to Southern California, especially the Central Valley farms and cities.

“Kettleman right now looks like it is going to run out of water before the end of the month. Coalinga, probably before Christmas. It is something for us that is of huge importance and we need to be very aggressive,” Valadao said. “We have seen Senator Feinstein and a few other California Democrats make comments and public statements on this, but we need to be as aggressive as possible on this one.”

Congressman Valadao thought that while the 2020 Biological Opinions was being reevaluated the initial findings would stay in place, but an interim plan was put in place which halted that framework.

“I believe it will cut water deliveries even more so than we already are today, and we are going to see farmers struggle, we are going to see cities run out of water and make life miserable for those of us in the Central Valley,” Valadao said.

Back in early 2020 when the Biological Opinions were set in place, California sued to try and stop the Trump Administration from moving forward with the operational plan set in place.

“Sadly some of our state reps were not very vocal on pushing back and that to me is a huge problem. I think that when you are elected to represent an area you need to do the best job you possibly can and fighting for water is vital for us in the Central Valley,” Valadao said.

When asked about Biden Administration’s new infrastructure bill, Valadao said that the policies in place in the Build Back Better Plan don’t coincide with the majority of Americans.

“Spending $2- $3 trillion, whatever that number is at this very moment. Scares a lot of folks,” Valadao said.

The bipartisan plan that passed out of the Senate has some good plans in place, said the Congressman. But he said it is being held hostage by the Democratic caucus.

Valadao was asked whether or not he would be voting for the Biden Administration’s infrastructure bill and he said he is keeping his options open because it does have some good plans within the bill. The biggest reason Valadao said he would vote no on the bill is because it does nothing to cut the red tape which would enable things to actually be done and not leave money lying around to be used on things it was not allocated for.

“We have passed lots of bonds over the years, dollars have sat out there, but we study infrastructure projects for decades upon decades and never get them built,” Valadao said. “If we don’t do something on cutting the red tape, just to say that I have passed a bond or bill with some money in it doesn’t actually do anything for my constituents.”

Valadao pointed out that the building of the Temperance Flat Dam and Reservoir project that would have helped Central Valley’s water woes along the east side of the Central Valley down into Kern County, but it was considered not beneficial for California residents and the money went elsewhere.

“Oh, this doesn’t qualify as good for the California citizens and so they just decide, oh, this one is off the list. Those dollars go into an area that doesn’t benefit us,” Valadao said.

Democrat Joe Manchin and his outlook on the Biden Administration infrastructure bill was also a topic brought up with the congressman and he relates to where he is in his political position, but the polar opposite.

“He’s kind of in a different spot a lot like mine. He is in a state that is a very much a Republican state, he is the only Democrat elected statewide and he knows he has to focus on his constituents and his constituents don’t believe this is a popular bill,” Valadao said. “Obviously he is from a coal state and so a lot of the climate change policies are not good for him, the employees and the hard workers in his district. He has to fight for them and I believe he thinks he’s doing the right thing. I believe he is doing the right thing for the American people.”

Lastly, Valadao spoke on immigration and the handling of the border.

“With as bad as they [Biden Administration] messed this up the politics of being able to pass something that would actually solve some problems for the people of the valley are next to zero now,” Valadao said. “You can’t allow it to get to this point, you have to secure the border, you have to pass laws that work and enforce those laws. Right now, they’re not doing that.”

As someone who was appointed to be the person in charge of immigration and the border, Valadao said he believes Kamala Harris needs to do much more.

Watch the full interview above.

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