Boxer slams McCarthy's 'small measure' drought fix
© Greg Nash

Democratic Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerPolls show big bounce to Biden ahead of Super Tuesday Sanders poised for big Super Tuesday Establishment Democrats rallying behind Biden MORE lashed out Tuesday at a fellow Californian, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, calling his legislative efforts to address the state’s drought crisis “destructive” and divisive.

Boxer said McCarthy, the No. 2 House Republican, could learn a lesson on leadership from Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been working closely with water stakeholders in the state.


Boxer and McCarthy have been trading barbs over the water issue for months. But McCarthy recently stepped up his attacks after Brown ordered the first-ever mandatory water reductions in state history. As recently as Monday, the GOP leader blasted Boxer for “blowing up” bipartisan drought negotiations last year between him and Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinEncryption helps America work safely – and that goes for Congress, too Democratic lawmakers demand government stop deporting unaccompanied children DOJ probing stock transactions made by lawmakers ahead of coronavirus crisis: report MORE (D-Calif.).

Boxer fired back at McCarthy in a brief interview with The Hill.

McCarthy has “insisted on pitting the farmers against urban users, suburban users and fishermen, and anyone who cares about our beautiful state. So he is destructive in the way he is approaching this,” said Boxer, the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee.

“We need to come together and unify, and all the stakeholders have to. And I’m not going to be a party to any move to divide our state,” she continued. “We have to be united, as Jerry Brown is leading us, as opposed to Kevin McCarthy. ... He should take a lesson out of Jerry Brown’s book.”

McCarthy said the state's GOP delegation is continuing to work with Feinstein on legislation that would divert water from northern California to the agriculture-rich Central Valley and store it for times of drought.

Boxer’s opposition to McCarthy’s bipartisan efforts last year “harmed all Californians,” he told reporters in a briefing Monday in his office.

Boxer, who will retire after 2016, said she’ll have no part in McCarthy’s drought legislation. Last year, she said, McCarthy only wanted to hold "secret" meetings and denied her request to include water stakeholders.

And she accused McCarthy of overstating the impact of his legislation, dismissing it a “small measure.”

“His penchant is to divide our state, turn one group against another, one portion of the state against another, make the case that farmers — who get 80 percent of all the water — should get more and take it away from fisherman, who are struggling as much as farmers are,” Boxer said in the interview.

“We are in this together. I will not be supporting any type of legislation that hurts the majority of our state.”