Boehner Promotes Relief Bill in Drought-Afflicted California

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-01_f3a2ea90cf.jpgDrew Angerer/Getty Images (SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- House Speaker John Boehner was in drought-stricken central California on Wednesday to talk about a proposed drought relief bill that would halt restoration of the San Joaquin River and allow water to be sent to farmers. Boehner said the restoration project isn't necessary and that he plans to have the bill on the House floor in the coming weeks.

Pushback by Democrats is expected, though. Restoration of the San Joaquin River is part of a plan to bring back salmon runs to historic levels.  But Boehner and fellow Republicans argue that farmers need that water right now and the bill would help deal with the drought issue they are facing. If the bill is passed, the restoration would be put on hold, allowing farmers to pump irrigation water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta.  Farmers have been battling groups that want to increase the river's salmon population.

"How you can favor fish over people is something that people in my part of the world would never understand," Boehner said Wednesday.

"When you look at what's been going on here in California, and you come from my part of the world, you just shake your head and wonder what kind of nonsense does the bureaucracy do out here," he added.

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