The question I had for Congress’ majority leader Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles last Friday: When he learned that Senator Barbara Boxer was not running for reelection did he even for a moment consider running for the seat? He said he did not want “to go to the back of the line.” In other words, no desire to abandon the powerful majority leader’s post to become a new senator with less influence.
A former California legislator from Bakersfield, McCarthy was in Southern California to address the Town Hall of Los Angeles. He expressed the hope that despite a divided government with the president of one party and congress controlled by the other party, that they could find common ground. He cited the accomplishments of Ronald Reagan working with Tip O’Neill and Bill Clinton working with Newt Gingrich as models to follow.
McCarthy said to reach solutions, he didn’t need to get 100-percent of what he wanted. He expressed his goals for congress as seeking Freedom, Opportunity, and Accountability. But he said he wasn’t interested in top down solutions and pointed to California’s Silicon Valley as a success built from the bottom up.
Issues he hoped to reach compromise on were human trafficking, cyber security, transportation, and the Keystone XL pipeline. The latter may be a pipe dream since the president has already promised a veto.
Addressing California issues, McCarthy supported the opening of the Monterey Shale deposit for oil and emphasized trade as a strength for California, bemoaning the strike called for the ports.
He spoke of the water issue and concern for the drought. He warned Southern Californians, “You’ll feel the drought this year.” McCarthy objected to regulations that allowed water to end up in the ocean instead of in the Central Valley and Southern California.
The same day that McCarthy was speaking in Los Angeles, U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell was in Sacramento holding a press conference with Governor Jerry Brown announcing a $50 million drought response program for the western states, with the lion’s share headed for California.
McCarthy responded to the secretary’s visit, “Until the Administration recognizes the underlying problem of Federal and state regulations preventing our communities from getting the water we desperately need, no amount of spending will solve our crisis. … I hope that while Secretary Jewell is in the Valley, she will spend some time with our farmers who have been devastated by regulations that put fish over people.”
And, yes, the Majority Leader is still opposed to the high-speed rail project. When asked for an alternative transportation plan, McCarthy suggested California consult with Elon Musk.
Unfortunately, it appears the billionaire, entrepreneur Musk is planning to build his hyperloop test track in Texas.