April 10, 2019
Washington D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined House Democrats for a bill enrollment photo opportunity for H.R. 2030, the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. So glad to be with so many freshmen and more senior Members. Ruben Gallego, one of our champions on so many issues. Good afternoon, everyone. This is a real cause for celebration. I have the honor of signing this legislation that will then go to the Senate and then go to the President of the United States for a signature. It is bipartisan, bicameral, recognizing a challenge that we have.
Mr. Chairman Grijalva, I thank you.
Chairman Grijalva. Thank you.
Speaker Pelosi. The state and tribal leaders who were so important in bringing this to fruition. It is called the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act. It has a very specific name. The Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act.
The 19 year Colorado River drought is one of the worst in the millennium – worst in the millennium – more than 1,000 years. And it affected the lives of 40 million people.
The bipartisan bill is a victory, again, for the health, the global economy, good-paying jobs and the moral obligation to be good stewards of God’s creation. And, of course, our Native American population teaches us that so well. We will build on this progress, hopefully, working together in a bipartisan way to protect our environment to fight climate change. We can do so much more working together.
Again, a cause for celebration. I know, having been out with our Native American friends in Indian country over this past weekend, how pleased and excited they are about this legislation. We are here joined by the distinguished Chair of the Natural Resources committee. Before I yield to him and our champion of water issues in the Congress, Congresswoman Grace Napolitano of California, I will sign the bill.
Chairman Grijalva. Thank you very much. Thank you, Madam Speaker. And indeed, it’s a piece of legislation and I want to thank the Speaker and her staff for expediting it to the Floor and getting this done before we take our break.
Very important to the seven basin states of which many of them are represented here today. From our Committee, Mr. Gallego, from Resources Committee, Arizona. Ms. Napolitano that the Speaker acknowledged, of California. Mr. Stanton from Arizona as well. Mr. Neguse from Colorado. Mr. Horsford from Nevada.
Their legislators, their elected representatives, stakeholders got together to do this. It’s a contingency plan to realize that water in the West – in the Southwest and the West is not infinite. It is finite.
And now we have some time in this very interim step to do something lasting and for the longer haul. Conservation being key, but also water use and priorities being key. With climate change, this is an urgency and I’m very appreciative of the Speaker moving this item as quickly as it was done.
Thank you so much. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Congresswoman Napolitano. Thank you, ma’am.
It is important because it has been in the making for over two years. And it is something that not only basin states are going to benefit from that water. But Mexico also is banking water, so it’s important for all of us to keep this going.
And I am very thankful to the Speaker and Mr. Grijalva and the Committee that they were able to push it through because this has to be done as soon as possible.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you. I want to join our Chairman in acknowledging the leadership of Mr. Gallego from Arizona.
Congressman Gallego. Thank you, [Speaker]. Thank you Chairman Grijalva for making this happen and also, I’d like to thank our Tribal Nations.
They stepped up the plate, negotiated and were key players in making sure that we come up with a compromise and, without them, we never would have gotten to the point of signing this.
And every time I see them, I thank them. I think they need to be recognized for helping us in a very tough pickle.
Thank you, Madam [Speaker]. Thank you, Chairman for your leadership.
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you, Mr. Gallego. And now we’re joined by a number of Freshman Members.
One who is a freshman, a returning freshman. I’m going to yield to now to Mr. Horsford of Nevada. It’s a pleasure. Thank you for your leadership.
Congressman Horsford. Thank you, Madam Speaker and to our Chairman, to the leadership, all of our Members of the Committee. I’m just honored to be here on behalf of Nevada. Water is gold in our portion of the country, but we all have to do our part to conserve for this generation and for future generations to come.
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you! Well the bill has the word Colorado in it and so I’m going to yield to Congressman Joe Neguse from Colorado, but I’m not going to yield without saying that all of us from Colorado had an interest in this legislation, and for us in the West, water. That’s a fighting word.
Congressman Neguse. Thank you, Madam Speaker, thank you. I represent the headwaters in Colorado’s second Congressional district, I certainly couldn’t agree more with distinguished colleague from Nevada that conservation is key. And so I want to thank, of course, the Chairman and Grace Napolitano for their work, their leadership, and also the Speaker.
The fact that you have a bipartisan, bicameral piece of legislation like this that is moving so quickly through the process, in the first 100 days speaks to our ability to deliver on the For The People agenda. So, I thank the Speaker for her leadership in a big way.
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you, Mr. Neguse. And although a freshman, as Mayor of Phoenix, Congressman Stanton has been working on these issues for a very long time. Thank you for being part of it today, Congressman.
Congressman Stanton. Thank you very much Madam Speaker, thank you for expediting this to get it done quickly! It was very important to Arizona and the seven basin states. To the Chair of the Natural Resources Committee, the Dean of our Arizona delegation, thank you for our leadership on this and so many other issues. We couldn’t have gotten it done quickly without you. And Congresswoman Napolitano, thank you for your leadership on water issues.
Look, climate change is real. It’s impacting places all over this globe, including Arizona. We’re facing extreme heat, forest fires and now 19 years of drought. This plan is incredibly important to Arizona and the basin states as we’re dealing with drought issues.
It gives us seven years, that’s good, but we’ve got to roll up our sleeves and get right to work on the much larger plan that will last decades in the future. So that people can have confidence in Arizona, you can move there, you can move your business there, continue to grow, but only if we show courage and leadership. This is a great step in the right direction. Thank you!
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you, Mr. Stanton. Well, for us in the West, water is like the air we breathe. It’s that fundamental. It’s about health, it’s about commerce, it’s about protecting the environment in so many different ways. So, for us, this is very important legislation, and it’s no accident that the Members who are here right now are all from the West, where we’re very proud of this legislation.
Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman.
Congressman Grijalva. Thank you.
Speaker Pelosi. Mr. Chairman, you must take great pride in all of this
Thank you, all. And we’ll send it over to the Senate for their signature.