Costa, Huffman get huffy in committee
As first reported in the Fresno Bee, the House Natural Resources Committee approved an irrigation drainage ditch deal with the Westlands Water District in western Fresno County (and parts of Kings County) on Wednesday. The bill now goes to the full House, where it is expected to pass.
What was notable about the committee meeting was a testy exchange between Democrats Jim Costa (D-Fresno/Merced) and Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), which starts at the 17:18 mark. Committee chair Rob Bishop (R-Utah) eventually had to settle the men down.
Costa voted to support the bill in committee. He took aim at Huffman during debate.
“I understand why some people who always have taken issue with the farmers, the farm workers and the farm community where you have had a 40 percent unemployment level and zero water allocation would take issue with this…” Costa said during a debate of a Huffman amendment.
Huffman than interrupted complaining that he wanted Costa’s remarks be stricken from the record because they were personal insults. The request was denied.
“Excuse me!? I simply reject the notion that we ignore the plight of farm workers, farm communities and the people impacted by a zero allocation. This has been a political football that has been ignored for decades,” Costa replied.
Fellow Valley congressman Tom McClintock noted that Huffman has feuded with Westlands and supported Costa.
“Anyone who believes this was about a personal grudge or vendetta needs to look a little bit deeper. If that’s the case, it is one shared by other water users and water districts in California who’ve expressed these same concerns by the environmental community and state authorities,” Huffman replied.
The committee approved the Westlands deal 27-12. Costa, McClintock and Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) were Valley congressman who voted in support.