Politics

President Barack Obama heading to Fresno for drought discussion

Friday, February 07, 2014
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The White House confirmed to Action News President Obama is planning to visit Fresno next Friday, Feb. 14 to learn about the historic drought first-hand.

It will be President Obama's first visit to Fresno.

In the upcoming days, the White House is expected to reveal the details of the President's trip to Fresno, including setting a time and place for his visit.

Republican Devin Nunes says he and other GOP lawmakers are looking forward to hearing from the President on the issue.

"We're optimistic," Nunes said. "We have a bill right now, sitting in the United States Senate. Sen. Feinstein could move that bill, she could move that bill quickly, and the president could sign it next week."

Last month, Nunes stood with Valley Republican lawmakers David Valadao and Kevin McCarthy, as well as House Speaker John Boehner in a baron Kern County field. The Congressmen talked about the getting drought relief to the farmers and people who rely on water for crops.

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that favored giving water to the Central Valley at the expense of the San Joaquin River Restoration Project.

Nunes says it's getting push back from Democrats in the Senate.

Sen Dianne Feinstein is expected to introduce her own draft relief legislation soon.

Nunes says it's hard to tell how far both sides are from reaching an agreement, because Nunes says the conversation has been one-sided so far.

"The house wants to get the pumps running and don't let flood releases go from Millerton, that's what the House of Representatives wants to do," Nunes said. "As far as the senate and the president, we welcome them finally coming to the table."

The last time President Obama visited the area was in 2012 when he stopped by Kern County to dedicate the Cesar Chavez National Monument.

This time, the President's visit will address a more pressing concern.

Democratic Congressman Jim Costa of Fresno believes the President's visit will benefit the state.

In a statement Costa said:

"We've been wanting the president to come to the Valley for a long time. The federal agencies' willingness to work with the governor and state to deal with our short-term water problems is absolutely essential. I expect the president to talk about how he's going to cooperate with the governor to address problems not only in the Valley, but throughout California."

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