Today’s Congressional odds and ends

  • Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, introduced his first bill today: the Healthy Communities Water Supply Act of 2007, which will authorize $125 million in funding for projects to increase usable water supply by encouraging innovation in water reclamation, reuse, and conservation. With parts of California experiencing one of the driest Januaries ever and the impact on California’s water supply caused by rising global temperatures, this bill authorizes critical funds to develop alternative sources of clean drinking water, his news release said. The bill — of which the first original co-sponsor is Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo — is scheduled to be considered by House Transportation and Infrastructure‘s Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment on Wednesday. McNerney and Tauscher both sit on that subcommittee.
  • Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, will host a forum at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Cannon House Office Building on “Iran: Engagement and Diplomacy, Alternatives to Preemption,” a reaction to what she says is the Bush Administration’s increased sabre-rattling toward that nation. The discussion of current U.S. policy towards Iran; the potential implications of preemptive war there; non-military alternatives to Iran’s nuclear ambitions; and engaging Iran in bolstering regional stability by ending Iraq’s civil war will be conducted by Ken Katzman, a Middle East policy expert from the Congressional Research Service; Georgetown University Security Studies Professor Paul Pillar, a 28-year veteran of the CIA; retired U.S. Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner; and National Iranian-American Council President Trita Parsi.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco; House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo; and other members of a bipartisan Congressional delegation which visited Iraq and Afghanistan in recent days will discuss the trip in a news conference tomorrow in the Rayburn House Office Building.
  • UPDATE @ 3:20 p.m. — Crank up your C-SPAN: Barbara Lee will be wielding the House’s gavel as Speaker pro tempore from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. PST tomorrow, surely striking fear into the hearts of conservatives far and wide.

    Josh Richman

    Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.