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Nation & World

Lawmakers struggle to reach drought relief deal

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, joined by Kevin McCarthy (left), R-Calif., and Rep. Devin Nunes (center), R- Calif., speaks Jan. 22 about the drought in a field outside Bakersfield, Calif. Prospects for a drought relief bill to help California farmers appear as likely as the state being deluged by three straight days of rain.
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, joined by Kevin McCarthy (left), R-Calif., and Rep. Devin Nunes (center), R- Calif., speaks Jan. 22 about the drought in a field outside Bakersfield, Calif. Prospects for a drought relief bill to help California farmers appear as likely as the state being deluged by three straight days of rain.

WASHINGTON – Prospects for a drought relief bill to help California farmers appear as likely as the state being deluged by three straight days of rain.

Key lawmakers and staff are working to resolve differences in two bills that separately passed the House and Senate this year. The lawmakers won’t say where progress has occurred or what roadblocks remain, but time is running out for the current congressional session. Congress will be out for the rest of August and for virtually all of October to give lawmakers time to campaign for the midterm elections.

“I’m making no predictions right now. All I’m saying is we’re still working and comparing notes,” said Republican Rep. Devin Nunes on the possibilities of reaching a compromise.

California has experienced three consecutive dry years. State officials recently passed emergency regulations that prohibit certain outdoor water uses, and an estimated 64 local water agencies have enacted some form of mandatory water restrictions.

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