GOP members blame Sen. Feinstein for blocking drought language

Debate over a plan to address California’s drought continued Friday as the Republicans in the state's delegation held a news conference blaming Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) for not supporting their bid to insert the plan into a must-pass spending bill.

Feinstein’s staff responded that negotiations were still ongoing when Republican members put the plan forward without approval from the rest of the delegation or stakeholders and interest groups back home.

The House and Senate are expected to leave town by the middle of next week, and the dwindling days, and frustration from both sides, have diminished the chance a drought proposal could pass by the end of the year.

Members from both parties and their staffs have met unofficially for months in an attempt to reconcile a House bill proposed by Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) and a Senate bill proposed by Feinstein. They had hoped to pass something in time to be able to collect and store rainwater from the expected El Niño storms.

Democrats fumed last Friday at news that Republicans had put some of the negotiated ideas forward for inclusion in the spending bill.

Republicans responded Wednesday, saying the bill was largely made up of items negotiated with Democratic members and that they hoped Democrats would change their minds.

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