(Editor’s Note:  Following is the speech House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy gave on the House floor yesterday supporting provisions in the Energy and Water appropriations bill that would ease the drought in the West.)

Mr. Speaker, I want to take a moment to thank another Representative—Representative David Valadao (CA-21). It is rare to find a person so tirelessly devoted to his constituents. Every time the House passes legislation to address the drought crisis in California, David Valadao is at the center of it.

Like Congressman Valadao, I also represent the people of the Central Valley of California. For too long, our constituents have been suffering. So I’m going to put this as simply as possible. We need water.

California Republicans have tried for years—three Congresses now—to get a water bill signed into law to help the people of California. As the drought worsened and its reach grew, we tried last year to get legislation through the Senate that would help all the states in the West facing drought conditions. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats opposed the legislation and blocked it.

So we tried again. We added in provisions from my Republican colleagues and provisions supported by our California Senators—ideas both sides could support. We worked to make this bill as bipartisan as possible and focused on good policy. Again, our efforts were blocked.

But my constituents can’t and won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Water is not a luxury. It is a necessity, and we need it now more than ever.

And it’s very clear how we get more water. Now, earlier this year, bureaucrats allowed water from storms to flush out into the ocean instead of capturing it for our communities. Regulations and bad laws are keeping water from the people who need it. We need more pumping and we need more storage capturing more runoff.

Too many times our Senate Democrat colleagues have ignored or blocked action to help the people of California. So today, the Senate can no longer ignore it. They need to come to the table and negotiate with us in conference. After all, this should not be controversial. We were elected to serve our constituents. And our constituents need water.

My colleagues and I have come back again and again to find an agreement because as El Niño passes and the drought continues, our homes, our farms, and our people won’t see relief until something is done. And now is the moment.