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Video: Congressman Kevin McCarthy in Conversation

Linda Strean March 14, 2016
photo - Congressman Kevin McCarthy and Mark Baldassare

The majority leader of the US House of Representatives ticked off the issues in an ambitious agenda that he and Congressman Paul Ryan, the House Speaker, are working on in Congress. Congressman Kevin McCarthy told a Sacramento audience that they include national security, the economy, tax reform, poverty, regulatory reform, innovation in government, and water.

McCarthy shares a sense of urgency with Senator Dianne Feinstein about getting a water bill through Congress this year. But he made clear in his conversation with Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of PPIC, that he and the senator—who spoke to a PPIC audience last month—differ in their policy priorities. His include building more water storage and pumping more water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

McCarthy said he thought a water bill could be passed this year, perhaps in a bill that addresses the water problem in Flint, Michigan.

“I think there’s a window of opportunity,” he said.

When the conversation turned to the presidential race, McCarthy was asked to compare two political outsiders—presidential candidate Donald Trump and former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. McCarthy said both tapped frustration in the electorate and both brought new voters to the process.

“When I went to the rallies with Arnold it was amazing,” he said. “There’d be 7,000 people in Bakersfield. Lived there my whole life, but I’d see people I’d never met before.”

Today, he said, “the country feels as though the government is not listening to them, they’re divided on all sides, and they’re just not going to take it anymore.”

“I don’t believe it’s a bad thing at all. I believe it’s good.”

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