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KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

April / May 2015

Bakersfield’s Rep. Kevin McCarthy

The challenges of leading a House divided By Dianne Hardisty

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lected last year to serve as majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, recently responded to the Kern Business Journal’s questions posed by reporter Dianne Hardisty. Q: What can Californians expect from Congress in the way of drought relief aid? A: Our historic drought is hurting California’s economy and quality of life. Given the dire circumstances, it is unfathomable that officials in Sacramento and Washington continue to put the well-being of fish over the well-being of people. The House of Representatives acted twice last year and passed legislation that would increase water deliveries to our communities. At the end of the year, as the wet season was approaching, House Republicans acted in good faith and moved toward the position of our Senate Democrat California colleagues. Unfortunately Sens. Feinstein and Boxer refused to agree to this emergency deal. The House will continue to work toward a long-term solution to solve the man-made water crisis in California. I have already begun working with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, chairwoman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, and Sen. Feinstein on legislation that can pass the House and Senate and reach the president’s desk. After years of Senate inaction, our state cannot afford anymore delay. We need water. Recent surveys indicate California business leaders want immigration reform, but they want Congress to produce it. What, if any, immigration reform do you see from the 114th Congress? A: Our immigration system is broken. And until the root of the problem is addressed, illegal immigration will only be perpetuated and no reform can be achieved. We must secure our borders and put in place real, measurable enforcement mechanisms that stop illegal

PHOTO BY HENRY A. BARRIOS

Looking relaxed and rested, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, speaks with Californian City Editor Christine Bedell in his office in Washington, D.C. last summer.

immigration. Unfortunately, the president’s latest executive action does nothing to solve the problem and may only exacerbate our broken system. Will Congress extend the authorization for the ExportImport Bank that will expire this summer? A: I do not believe the government should pick winners and losers in business and reward politically connected corporations. When the ExportImport Bank was last reauthorized, it included reforms to the bank that still have not been addressed. Once again, this administration is simply ignoring laws that the Congress passes. I am continuing to work with the House Financial Services Committee and listening to different sides in our community to determine the ultimate future of

the Export-Import Bank. Q: In December, President Obama and Cuba’s Castro agreed to “repair ties” between the two countries. Will Congress now lift the decades-old embargo? A: The president’s policy is rewarding the Cuban regime’s policies of human rights abuses and repression of freedom. Given the president’s failed record of assurances from foreign states that they have reformed their ways, it is difficult to have confidence that his new policy will result in a better and freer life for the Cuban people. Q: Will Congress be able to reform the tax code? A: Our tax code is burdensome for our families and small businesses. Republicans believe that a simpler and fairer

tax code can get our economy moving by allowing our jobproducers to compete on a levelplaying field with foreign companies. Unless the entire code is reformed, small businesses will continue to be placed at a disadvantage, and individuals and families will have less takehome pay. We need to provide certainty for our small businesses that serve as the engine to our economy. Just recently, the House passed America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act, which would create stability for small businesses by making permanent increased smallbusiness expensing in Section 179 of the tax code. These are commonsense measures that I will continue to work on. Q: Will Congress increase the federal tax on gasoline to help pay for

transportation improvements? A: Raising the gas tax hurts middle-class families and small businesses the most. For years, gasoline prices have been a strain on budgets and have made it more costly to deliver goods that are important to growing our economy. Thanks to innovation, increased U.S. production has helped drive gasoline prices down. With individuals finally seeing some relief at the pump, raising gas taxes on all of us is the wrong answer. But we do need to improve our infrastructure and there are other ways to fund needed transportation improvements. We should look at generating funding for these infrastructure improvements through revenue from new energy exploration and reforming Continued on page 21

Kern Business Journal April/May 2015  

Legal and Human Resources Issue

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