Tom McClintock

Tom McClintock


Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015 Passes House Natural Resources Committee


Rep. Tom McClintock’s (R-CA) and Rep. Mark Amodei’s (R-NV) H.R. 3382, the “Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015” passed the House Natural Resources Committee today.  The legislation focuses resources on fire prevention and additional measures to protect the lake from the introduction of invasive species. 

“The House measure is specifically designed — after extensive input from fire districts throughout the Tahoe region — to reduce excess fuel loads in the Tahoe Basin before they burn. It streamlines the planning process that has severely hampered past attempts at forest management,” McClintock said. “It calls for new revenues generated within the Tahoe Basin to stay in the Tahoe Basin for environmental improvements. It also augments efforts to protect the lake from invasive species that have already devastated many other lakes in the West.”

“For the last eight years, Tahoe legislation has been introduced in the Senate and has not moved off the Senate floor,” continued McClintock.  “This bill has been carefully crafted to fit within the budget parameters set by Congress and it addresses the two most immediate environmental threats to the Tahoe Basin.  I believe this bill has an excellent prospect for passage out of the House.”

The bill:

--- Expedites active forest management and fuel reduction projects consistent with the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit land and resource management plan.

--- Guarantees that funds generated by timber sales and recreation will stay in the Tahoe Basin to provide for further fuels management and promote public access.

--- Supplements and expands the current inspection regimen of boats launched into Lake Tahoe and provides for fee-supported private, local, and state inspection and decontamination stations.

--- Provides for disposition of federal-owned parcels of land in urban areas and acquisition of in-fill parcels within the national forest to streamline management and reduce the inefficient “checkerboard” pattern.'/

--- Makes the involvement of local governments mandatory in land acquisition decisions that directly impact their communities.

--- Promotes tourism by prioritizing public access to the federal lands.

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Federal Lands Subcommittee Hearing on "State, Local, and Tribal Approaches to Forest Management: Lessons for Better Management of our Federal Forests”


Congressman McClintock is the Chairman of the Federal Lands Subcommittee.  The subcommittee held a hearing on "State, Local, and Tribal Approaches to Forest Management: Lessons for Better Management of our Federal Forests” on September 29th, 2015. Congressman McClintock delivered the following opening statement at the hearing:

Chairman’s Opening Statement
Subcommittee on Federal Lands
House Natural Resources Committee
September 29, 2015

The Subcommittee on Federal Lands meets today to examine state, local, and tribal approaches to forest management and how we can apply these approaches to better federal forestry management.   We will begin with five minute opening statements by the Chairman and Ranking Member.

When Gifford Pinchot founded the U.S. Forest Service in 1905, he envisioned an agency that worked cooperatively with local communities to maximize the sustainable use and enjoyment of our resources.  His policy was to manage our forests “for the greatest good for the greatest number of people in the long run.”

For decades, the Forest Service did just that.  The emerging science of forestry offered us principles of sound forest management with which to assure healthy, thriving and resilient forests in perpetuity.

These practices prevented vegetation and wildlife from overgrowing the ability of the land to support them.  The sale of excess timber provided a steady stream of revenues to the treasury which could, in turn, be used to further improve, protect and manage the public lands.  It also contributed significantly to our nation’s prosperity.

But 45 years ago, we replaced these sound management practices with what can only be described as a policy of benign neglect.  In the 1970’s, Congress opened a floodgate of ponderous and Byzantine laws, regulations and lawsuits, with the explicit promise to “save the environment” from the predations of mankind. 

After 45 years of these policies, I believe we are entitled to ask, “How are our national forests doing?”  The answer is damning.  Our forests have not been improved by these policies, and in fact, have been tragically and catastrophically harmed by them.  

Surplus timber harvested from of our national forests has dropped more than 80 percent in those years, while acreage destroyed by forest fire has increased proportionally.  Wildlife habitats these laws were supposed to preserve are being incinerated as forests become choked with the overgrowth these laws have prevented us from removing.  We have lost vast tracts of national forests to pestilence, disease and fire.  We cannot even salvage the fire-killed timber before it loses its value and is abandoned to insects and decay.

Ironically, our non-federal forest lands are conspicuously healthier than the federal lands precisely because they are freed from so many of the laws that are tying the hands of our federal public foresters.  

Adequately funding our national forests would not be an issue IF we could sell the excess timber out of our forests before it burns as we did for many decades.  This paid not only to clean out and protect our forests, but also to replant the acreage we lost, assure a perpetual resource for future generations, restore a vibrant and prosperous economy to our forested regions. 

The House has already taken the first step toward restoring sound forest management to our public lands by adopting the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015, HR 2647 by Congressman Bruce Westerman.  

It seeks to provide the Forest Service with immediate reforms that require no new regulations, rules, planning or mapping.  Among other things, it streamlines fire and disease prevention programs by providing categorical exclusions from NEPA for forest treatment and salvage operations.  It sets a 90-day time limit on environmental studies for salvage sales, assuring that fire-killed timber can be quickly removed to create both revenues and room so that we can restore fire-damaged lands.  

It permanently fixes the fire borrowing problem by amending the Stafford Act to allow wildfire costs that exceed the budget to be paid for by the Disaster Relief Fund.   

HR 2647 passed the House in July, and we now await action in the Senate. 

This legislation, however, was just the first step.  We must consider additional approaches and new ideas to improve the health of our federal forests and that is why we are here today. 

We are here to answer the question, “Why are the federal forests in such poor condition while forests managed by states, localities and tribes are healthy and thriving?” 

Today we will hear expert testimony from a panel of witnesses who will be able to tell the subcommittee what works for them and offer guidance for how we can improve management of our federal forests. We will also hear about the devastating economic impacts of what happens when our federal lands are mismanaged.    

The American people want our forests returned to health. We want the continually rising threat of wildfire brought back under control.   That will require a dramatic change in current policy. We began that process with the passage of HR 2647, and we will continue to look for solutions to this forest health epidemic.

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Congressman McClintock Today Announced His Resignation from the House Freedom Caucus


Congressman McClintock today announced his resignation from the House Freedom Caucus:

September 16, 2015

Congressman Jim Jordan
Chairman, House Freedom Caucus
1524 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C.  20515


Dear Jim:

When the House Freedom Caucus formed in January, I fervently hoped that it would provide responsible and effective leadership to advance conservative principles in the House of Representatives.   

I know that every member of the HFC sincerely supports these principles, but as I have expressed on many occasions during our meetings, I believe the tactics the HFC has employed have repeatedly undermined the House’s ability to advance them.  Allow me to review a few examples.

On February 27th, we faced the imminent shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security over the funding of Obama’s unlawful amnesty orders for illegal immigrants.  Although the American people overwhelmingly opposed these orders, they also overwhelmingly opposed shutting down DHS.  House Republicans attempted to pass a three-week stop gap bill so we could avoid a catastrophic shutdown of our security agencies while continuing to bring public opinion to bear to de-fund the orders.  At the behest of its board, most HFC members combined with House Democrats to defeat this effort, resulting in the full funding of these illegal orders for the fiscal year. 

In May, the House had the opportunity to adopt the most important free trade bill in nearly two decades, restoring the long-standing and essential process that has made it possible for our nation to negotiate free trade agreements with other nations.  At the behest of its board, most HFC members combined with the vast majority of House Democrats in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat this legislation.  

Last week, the House was scheduled to adopt the Resolution of Disapproval of the disastrous Iran nuclear agreement – the only legally binding action available to Congress under the Corker Act.  Once again, the House Freedom Caucus leadership threatened to combine with House Democrats to defeat the Resolution, forcing the House leadership to abandon it in favor of a symbolic and legally meaningless vote.  Ironically, while Harry Reid and Senate Democrats blocked a vote on the Resolution of Disapproval in the Senate, the House Freedom Caucus leadership was instrumental in blocking its consideration in the House.

For several months, Harry Reid and Senate Democrats have threatened to shut down the government on October 1st unless Congress unleashes another unsustainable cycle of tax increases and borrowing.  Last week, the House Freedom Caucus formally vowed to shut down the government over funding Planned Parenthood.  

I have strongly opposed the public funding of abortions throughout my 29 years in public office, but this tactic promises only to shield Senate Democrats from their responsibility for a government shutdown and to alienate the public from the pro-life cause at precisely the time when undercover videos of Planned Parenthood’s barbaric practices are turning public opinion in our favor.  I suspect this is why the leading pro-life organizations have been conspicuously unwilling to endorse the HFC position.     
A common theme through each of these incidents is a willingness – indeed, an eagerness – to strip the House Republican majority of its ability to set the House agenda by combining with House Democrats on procedural motions.  As a result, it has thwarted vital conservative policy objectives and unwittingly become Nancy Pelosi’s tactical ally.  

I feel honored to know and work with every member of the House Freedom Caucus.  I have never served with a group of patriots more devoted to our country and dedicated to restoring American founding principles.  However, I feel that the HFC’s many missteps have made it counterproductive to its stated goals and I no longer wish to be associated with it.  

Accordingly, I resign.


                    Tom McClintock

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A Munich-Sized Mistake (Iran Nuclear "Deal")


Congressman McClintock delivered the follwing remarks on the House floor regasrding the Iran Nuclear "Deal":

A Munich-Sized Mistake
House Floor Remarks
Congressman Tom McClintock
September 9, 2015

Mr. Speaker:

In 48 hours, the House will vote on a resolution to stop the Iran Nuclear Treaty.   I know the President chooses not to call it a treaty, but it is a treaty in everything but name, with international ramifications as great as any treaty Congress has ever considered.  Because treaties have profound implications to the life of this nation, the Constitution requires they be ratified by a 2/3 vote of the Senate.  Yet in this post-constitutional era of Obama’s America, it now requires 2/3 of both houses to reject it.  

Every Republican in both houses has taken a stand against it.  So rejection or ratification now rests solely on whether enough Democrats are willing to place country ahead of party on a matter of the gravest consequence to world peace.

I don’t think anyone can dispute the immediate effects of this treaty:

•    $150 billion in frozen assets will be released to a regime whose leaders daily reiterate their intention to wage war on Israel and the United States.  These funds will be available to finance Iran’s military and terrorist activities and nuclear ambitions.  

•    Although the agreement purports to halt production of fissile material, it gives Iran the legal right to continue its research and development of advanced centrifuges – the only purpose of which is to produce nuclear weapons.

•    It gives them legal access to traffic in conventional arms in five years and ICBM technology in eight years – something that Obama’s own chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said should be done “under no circumstances” -- just a week before the treaty was announced.

Does anyone deny that the nation most immediately imperiled by a nuclear Iran – our ally, Israel – is united in its opposition to this treaty?  Israeli political parties are among the most fractured and disputatious in the world, and yet they stand united on this issue.

Does anyone deny that the Iranian regime is notorious for not honoring its treaty obligations?  Indeed, Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and has violated it ever since -- which is why we are now debating this treaty.   Verification therefore must be the central focus of any treaty with this regime – yet under its very terms, spot inspections can be delayed for weeks or even months if the regime objects.   More recently, we have learned that under secret side-agreements the administration had no intention of sharing, that inspections of the most important nuclear sites are to be conducted by the Iranians themselves.  This provision alone guarantees that history will ridicule this treaty as the pinnacle of naivety.

So I ask my Democratic colleagues, why?  Why would anyone who values peace support this treaty?

The answer I hear is that it reduces the chance of war in the next few years, or in Neville Chamberlain’s words, guarantees “peace in our time”.    

Does anyone really believe this?  This treaty gives Israel the Hobson’s choice of launching a pre-emptive strike or ramping up its own nuclear program.  The Saudis and Egyptians have already made clear this agreement gives them no alternative than to initiate their own nuclear programs.  And it catastrophically undermines the Iranian democratic opposition at just the time the regime was faltering from within.  

Ironically, Mr. Obama tacitly concedes the destabilizing effect of this treaty by following it up with pledges for vastly increasing military aid to Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.  If he really believed this treaty stabilizes the region, why would it need a new infusion of arms?  

I appeal to my Democratic colleagues to consider the ramifications of this vote.  The constitutional concerns are huge – this sets a dangerous precedent that essentially rescinds the Treaty Clause of the Constitution – a precedent they might live to regret under Republican administrations.

But a far more immediate danger is the chain of events this treaty could set off in the Middle East and quickly spread throughout the world.   This treaty bolsters the Iranian regime from within, infuses it with $150 billion with which to finance its nuclear ambitions, gives it the legal right and guaranteed timetable to pursue nuclear war and cannot be verified through inspections.  Iran has made crystal clear its intent to destroy Israel and the United States – a threat reiterated yesterday in no uncertain terms by its supreme leader.

History reviles the well-intentioned politicians responsible for the Munich Agreement and has condemned their memory to eternal scorn and shame.  History could well look back upon this treaty as the triggering act that led to an unimaginable conflagration.  

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Related:  Retreating from Responsibility (Iran Nuclear "Deal")

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Default Prevention Act Approved by House Ways and Means Committee


Washington, D.C. – H.R. 692 by Congressman McClintock was advanced today by the House Ways and Means Committee by a vote of 23 to 15. The legislation guarantees the sovereign debt of the United States Government will be paid in full and on time, under any circumstances -- even total political gridlock.

“The full faith and credit of the United States should not hang in the balance every time there’s a fiscal debate in Washington,” remarked Congressman McClintock upon passage of the measure.

If the debt limit is reached, under H.R. 692, the Treasury Secretary may continue to borrow above the limit for the sole purpose of paying principal and interest due on the debt, thereby guaranteeing the debt of the United States is honored.  

The clear and unambiguous mandate to protect the nation’s credit first will result in the ability of the government to continue to pay its other bills.  American investors are protected in the legislation, as more than half of the nation’s debt is held by Americans, often in pension funds.

A similar act authored by the Congressman passed the House in the last Congress (the 113th), but was never taken up by the Senate.

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Congressman McClintock discussed the legislation in House floor remarks on February 3, 2015:

Default Prevention Act
Mr. Speaker:

Amidst all the controversies gripping Congress, certainly we should all be able to agree that the full faith and credit of the United States should not hang in the balance every time there’s a fiscal debate in Washington.  

This nation now staggers under $18 trillion of debt – nearly $7 1/2 trillion run up by this administration alone.  The interest on that debt is one of the fastest growing components of the federal budget.  

If there is ever any doubt over the security and reliability of the debt owed by this government,  rates would quickly rise and our precarious budget situation could rapidly spin out of control.
Ernest Hemingway put it this way.    He asked, “How do you go bankrupt?  Two ways.  First gradually.  Then suddenly.”  So it is with nations.

The debt limit is how we regulate the nation’s debt.  It is the national equivalent of a credit card limit.  That limit must be periodically adjusted.  It is appropriate for Congress to take responsibility when it is raised.  When it does, it is also appropriate for Congress to review and revise the policies that are driving the debt. 

The fundamental problem, under both Democratic and Republican Congresses, is that this process is fraught with controversy.  The bigger the debt, the bigger the controversy.  And the bigger the controversy, the more credit markets are likely to be spooked into demanding higher interest payments to meet their greater risk.  Given the size of our debt, that could produce an interest tidal wave that could sink our budget and our nation along with it.

I am today introducing the Default Prevention Act, with 43 co-sponsors, to guarantee that the sovereign debt of the United States Government will be paid in full and on time, under any circumstances -- even total political gridlock.

It simply provides that if the debt limit is reached, the Treasury Secretary may continue to borrow above that limit for the sole purpose of paying principle and interest that is due.  It is an absolute guarantee that the debt of the United States will be honored.

Most states have various laws to guarantee payment of their debts.  Three years ago, in testimony to the Senate, Ben Bernanke praised these state provisions for maintaining confidence in their bonds.  

This act passed the House in the 113th Congress, but was never taken up by the Senate.  

Now we are approaching the expiration of the government’s current borrowing authority.  We will soon have serious discussions over the level of our debt and additional measures to bring that debt under control.  We all hope these discussions will go smoothly, but we all know that sometimes they do not.

The Default Prevention Act says loudly and clearly to the world that no matter how much we may differ and quarrel, the sovereign debt of this nation is guaranteed and their loans to this government are ABSOLUTELY SAFE.

Last session, the Democrats opposed this measure, charging that it is an excuse for not paying our other bills.  

Do they actually suggest that all these other states -- that have guaranteed their sovereign debts for generations -- have ever used these guarantees as an excuse not to pay their other bills?  

On the contrary, by providing clear and unambiguous mandates to protect their credit first, they actually support and maintain their ability to pay for all of their other obligations.

The most outrageous claim the Democrats made was that this measure “Paid China First.”  
What nonsense!  More than half our debt is held by Americans, often in American pension funds.  This act actually protects Americans far more than the Chinese or other foreign investors.  

But whether our loans come from China or Timbuktu – from Grandma’s Pension Fund or Johnny’s Savings Bond – without the nation’s credit we cannot meet any of our other obligations.  

Principled disputes over HOW the debt limit is addressed are going to happen from time to time.  Just a few years ago, then-Senator Barack Obama vigorously opposed an increase in the debt limit sought by the Bush administration.  

When these controversies erupt – as they inevitably do in a free society – it is imperative that credit markets are supremely confident that their loans to the United States are secure.  

Providing such a guarantee could prevent a future debt crisis and give Congress the calm it needs to negotiate the changes that must be made to bring our debt under control before authorizing still more debt. 

I urge its speedy consideration.

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Retreating from Responsibility (Iran Nuclear "Deal")


Congressman McClintock delivered the following remarks on the House floor regarding the Iran Nuclear "Deal":

Retreating from Responsibility
House Floor Remarks
Congressman Tom McClintock
September 10, 2015

Mr. Speaker:

I rise to express my deep disappointment in the decision by the House leadership to back off from a direct vote on a resolution of disapproval of the Iran Nuclear Accord as provided under the Corker Act.

Clearly the administration has not complied with the requirements of this act to provide Congress will the full text of its agreement with Iran, most specifically the side deals referenced in the agreement between Iran and the IAEA.  

House Resolution 411, that declares the administration out of compliance with the Corker Act, is well-founded.  

But this is not a valid reason to delay a vote on a resolution disapproving the agreement, as specified in Corker and promised by the House Leadership for the last six weeks.  

H. Res. 411 rightly disputes September 17th as the deadline for congressional action to stop this treaty from taking effect, because of the Administration’s failure to disclose these details and I support that resolution.  But it cannot authoritatively settle this dispute.  That leaves the deadline as an open question and this House must not let that deadline pass without definitive action as provided under the Corker Act.

I opposed that act because it guts the Treaty Clause of the Constitution that requires treaties to be ratified by a 2/3 vote of the U.S. Senate.  Despite the President’s contention that this is an agreement and not a treaty – the fact that it explicitly modifies the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty makes it obvious that it requires Senate ratification.  

Unfortunately, the Congress overwhelmingly approved the Corker Act, establishing a very different framework with respect to this particular treaty.  Instead of a 2/3 vote of the Senate to ratify it, Corker in essence requires 2/3 of both houses to reject it through a Resolution of Disapproval – an almost impossible threshold.  But these are the rules that Congress made and must now deal with.     

Under the Corker Act the Resolution of Disapproval is the specific legal act required to reject this treaty.  This is what the leadership had promised the House would vote on this week.  Until yesterday.  

Now, we are to vote on a bill to approve the treaty which is expected to be voted down.  This is designed to have no legal effect, but merely to give members political cover.  

Thus, the House will have failed to take action on a Resolution of Disapproval under Corker by the disputed September 17th deadline.  On that deadline, the President will declare victory, implement the treaty, and the Congress will be left sputtering.  The world will correctly interpret this dereliction as a capitulation by the House to this treaty.   And years from now, maybe, possibly, the courts will intervene to declare the President’s action illegal.  Or maybe not.

Mr. Speaker, the House is right to dispute the September 17th deadline, because clearly the President did not comply with the provisions of Corker and provide the full text of the side agreements to the Congress.  

But the House is dead wrong to refuse to take action on the Resolution of Disapproval prior to the disputed deadline.  The House must speak clearly, unambiguously and according to the provisions of the Corker Act that Congress enacted in May.  Once it has taken that action, it can still dispute whether the President’s submission meets the requirements of Corker – but must not leave this momentous question dangling in dispute and unresolved.

The argument we hear for this course is that the Senate is unlikely to take up a Resolution of Disapproval; therefore we should hold the President to the letter of Corker with respect to submitting language.  What the Senate does is up to the Senate.  But for OUR part, the House has a moral obligation to act within the UNDISPUTED time frame to legally reject this dangerous agreement.

There is little doubt that this treaty will trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East – the leaders of Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have already made that abundantly clear.  There is little doubt that it is unverifiable.  There is no doubt that it will release $150 billion of frozen assets to Iran with which to finance its terrorist operations and continue its nuclear research.  

I fear this agreement may be just as significant to the fate of the 21st Century as the Munich Agreement was to the 20th Century.  The American people and the world deserve a clear, unambiguous and INDISUPTABLE act of the House to repudiate it.

What the House leadership is now pursuing falls far short of this moral imperative.

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Related:  A Munich-Sized Mistake (Iran Nuclear "Deal")

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Folsom Dam - Third Phase Completion of Improvement Project


Congressman McClintock delivered the following remarks at the Third Phase Completion ceremony at Folsom Dam:

Third Phase Completion of Folsom Dam Improvement Project
Folsom, California
August 27, 2015

    It’s ironic that we are celebrating progress on a facility to rapidly release water out of Folsom Lake while we are in the fourth year of an historic drought and the lake is nearly empty.  

    This spillway project is a reminder that the previous generation built these great dams not only to protect us against water shortages in dry years, but also to protect us against floods in wet ones.  This combination of water storage and flood protection is what makes it possible to sustain a thriving and prosperous human population throughout this region.    

    And if the early observations of building El Nino conditions come to pass, we may be moving very rapidly from one of the driest periods on record to one of the wettest, and the worth of this project may become quite clear in the not-so-distant future. 

    It bears repeating on this occasion that the purpose of these dams is to protect the human population against water shortages in times of drought and from inundation in times of flood.  The Sacramento metropolitan area would be a very different and diminished place without them.  

    A happy byproduct of these dams is that they tame the catastrophic cycle of flood and drought that ravaged riparian habitats since time immemorial.  Without these dams, in a drought like this, there would be no rivers and there would be no fish.  

    We don’t build these facilities to more efficiently move water to the ocean for the fish – water is very good at running downhill on its own and tends to get to the ocean without our help.  We build these facilities to benefit the HUMAN population – to store water in wet years so that we have it in dry ones, and to protect our communities against catastrophic flooding.

      As we look at the very low level of Folsom Lake today, and reflect on the fact that throughout the worst drought on record our government continues to release massive volumes of water for no other purpose than to adjust water temperatures to make the fish more comfortable, I think we have to question the fundamental operation of these facilities and the policies that produce such follies.  

    This is especially true today, as Californians are going to extraordinary lengths to scrimp and save every drop of water in their homes, and hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland have been lost to water cutbacks.     

    This spillway project is part of a multi-billion dollar program to protect the Sacramento region against a 200-year flood.  Folsom Dam stores over one million acre-feet of water and produces nearly 200 megawatts of electricity. We should note, however, that just upstream from this spot is the abandoned site of the Auburn Dam, that if completed, would have given this region nearly 2 ½ million acre feet of storage, 800 megawatts of hydro-electricity, and 400-year flood protection for the Sacramento Delta.  Two and a half times the water; four times the hydro-electricity and twice the flood protection as currently provided by Folsom.   Indeed, if the Auburn Dam had been completed, Folsom Lake would be brim full today, and the Sacramento region would be safe from a 400-year flood with all the added prosperity that cheap and abundant water and electricity would have provided.  

    So while we celebrate progress on this spillway, we should recognize that a great deal more needs to be done and CAN be done to fulfill the vision of California’s generation of great builders, whose works we have enjoyed without seriously contributing to them since we walked away from the Auburn Dam in mid-construction more than forty years ago.

    Speaking as a member of the House Water, Power and Oceans sub-committee, I can tell you that we are determined to restore that promise of abundance as a centerpiece of the federal government’s resource policy.

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Lake Tahoe Summit 2015


Lake Tahoe Summit
Lake Tahoe, California
Remarks Delivered by Congressman Tom McClintock
August 24, 2015

    Tahoe rests on the northern boundary of California’s Fourth Congressional District.  Meanwhile, right now – as we speak – a catastrophic wildfire is raging in the King’s Canyon region on the southern boundary of this very same district.  That fire has already consumed 78 square miles of national forests and at latest report is only 17 percent contained.

    In this same district two years ago, the Rim Fire in this district destroyed 400 square miles of Sierra forests near Yosemite.  Last year in this same district, the King Fire incinerated 150 square miles and came close to wiping out the entire communities of Foresthill and Georgetown.

    By contrast, the Angora Fire destroyed just five square miles in 2007. Yet it destroyed 254 homes and 75 businesses, cost the local economy a billion dollars and left a scar on the landscape that lingers today.  If a super-fire of the size we’ve seen in other parts of this district were to strike the Tahoe Basin, it could decimate this lake and its surroundings for a generation to come.  

    The alarms are ringing all around us.  The number of acres burned by wildfire in the Lake Tahoe Basin has increased each decade since 1973, including a ten-fold increase over the past decade.  Eighty percent of the Tahoe Basin forests are now densely and dangerously overgrown.  At lower elevations, there are now four times the number of trees compared to historic conditions.  Modelling by the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit warns that in two thirds of the forest, conditions now exist for flame size and intensity that are explosive.

    Just last week, one of our Tahoe Fire Chiefs told me, “Good forest management IS good forest protection.”  Or put more bluntly, excess timber comes out of the forest one way or the other.  It is either carried out or it is burned out.

    Ever since the last Tahoe Restoration Act expired, a successor bill focusing hundreds of millions of dollars of lake clarity has been introduced in every congressional session since 2009.  None has moved off the floor of either house, during both Democratic and Republican majorities.  The good news is that lake clarity has improved on its own, with visibility increasing from an average of 64.4 feet in 2010 to 77.8 feet this year.  The bad news is that forest fuel loads have continued to increase perilously.

    The clarity of Tahoe’s water contributes uniquely to Tahoe’s beauty.  We need to recognize that the greatest environmental threat to that clarity is a catastrophic fire the likes of which we are seeing right now on the southern end of this very same Congressional district.

    That is why I have introduced a version of the Tahoe Restoration Act in the House (in partnership with my Nevada colleague Mark Amodei) that focuses our resources on fire prevention and additional measures to protect the lake from the introduction of invasive species.  

    Some have sought to portray this as competition with the expansive Senate version aimed at lake clarity.  It is not.  

    The House measure is specifically designed – after extensive input from fire districts throughout the Tahoe region -- to reduce excess fuel loads in the Tahoe Basin before they burn.  It streamlines the planning process that has severely hampered past attempts at forest management.  It calls for new revenues generated within the Tahoe Basin to STAY in the Tahoe Basin for environmental improvements.  It also augments efforts to protect the lake from invasive species that have already devastated many other lakes in the West.  

    But most importantly, the House bill is carefully crafted to fit within the budget parameters already set by Congress, which vastly improves the prospect of it actually being enacted.  We can thump our chests all day at summits like this, but unless legislation addressing this crisis is actually enacted, all we have done is to waste precious time, and lest we forget, time is NOT our ally.

    We can still see the scars from the Angora Fire today.  The Rim Fire was 80 times larger and struck the same high-risk forest conditions that today surround Tahoe.  When we consider what the landscape could look like at next year’s summit if the Tahoe Basin were to suffer a similar fate, we should realize how desperately important this issue is.  

    Next year, I hope we can say instead that a new era of scientific forest management and fire prevention is well underway, and that every year hence the danger of a Tahoe super-fire will be receding rather than growing.  

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California Water Crisis


July 16, 2015 Speeches
H.R. 2898 – California Water Bill Passes House
Congressman McClintock is a co-author of H.R. 2898 (Valadao) the Western Water and American Food Security Act.  The legislation was approved by the House on July 16th, 2015.  The bill next goes to the Senate.  Congressman McClintock delivered the following remarks in support of H.R.

July 8, 2015 Press Release
California Water Bill - HR 2898
Droughts are nature’s fault.  They happen.  But water shortages are OUR fault.  Water shortages are a deliberate choice we made nearly 40 years ago when we stopped building new dams.  We have not added a single major reservoir in California since 1979; meanwhile the population of our state has nearly doubled.

May 1, 2015 Press Release
House of Representatives Adopts McClintock Amendment to Stop Federal Agencies from Purchasing Scarce California Water for Fish
Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today adopted an amendment by Congressman Tom McClintock to forbid federal agencies from buying up scarce water during California’s catastrophic drought in order to release it into rivers to meet environmental requirements.  The amendment was subsequently adopted today as part of the Fiscal Year 2016 Energy and Water Appropriations Act.

April 22, 2015 Speeches
Save Our Water
California is now in its fourth year of the worst drought on record. Hydrologists estimate it is the worst drought in 1,200 years.

March 26, 2015 Press Release
Congressman McClintock Introduces H.R. 1668 the Save Our Water Act

March 26, 2015 Press Release
State Water Resources Control Board Letter
Congressman McClintock and Congressman Jeff Denham authored the attached letter to the State Water Resources Control Board.  The letter expresses support for the adjustments contained in the Bureau of Reclamation's Temporary Urgency Change Petition (TUCP) for New Melones operations in the 2015 water year.  The TUCP aims to protect municipal, agriculture, recreation, power water supply, steelhead population, and preserve a least a modicum of water storage behind New Melones Dam for the remainder of the water year.  

March 20, 2015 Press Release
McClintock Opposes Flows From New Melones - Letter to Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner

March 13, 2015 Press Release
Representatives McClintock and Denham Call on Federal Regulators to Take Immediate Action to Save Reservoir Water this Summer

March 10, 2015.
Letter from Congressman McClintock to President Barak Obama on convening the Endangered Species Committee (ESC).  Once convened, the ESC would have the authority to suspend or modify mandates, providing water managers with the necessary authority to prioritize California's water supply.   Click to read letter.

December 3, 2014
The California Emergency Drought Relief Act (HR 5781)
House Floor Debate Remarks in Support
Congressman Tom McClintock California’s regulatory drought was causing enormous economic damage and human hardship long before the historic natural drought that has now stricken the state; and through all of those years the House has passed legislation, repeatedly, to address it...more

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Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015 Introduced


Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Congressman Mark Amodei (R-NV) introduced legislation yesterday to address catastrophic wildfire and invasive species threats to Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Basin.  The Federal Lands Subcommittee chaired by McClintock had already considered the preliminary draft of H.R. 3382, “Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015,” on July 14th, putting it on a fast track for House passage.

“For the last eight years, Tahoe legislation has been introduced in the Senate and has not moved off the Senate floor,” McClintock said.  We have carefully crafted this bill to fit within the budget parameters set by Congress after extensive input from local fire districts and have targeted it to address the two most immediate environmental threats to the Tahoe Basin,” McClintock said.  “I believe this bill has an excellent prospect for passage out of the House.”  
The bill:

--- Expedites collaborative fuel reduction projects consistent with the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit land and resource management plan.

--- Prioritizes post-fire erosion abatement to protect lake water quality.  

--- Guarantees that funds generated by timber sales and other fee-based revenues will stay in the Tahoe Basin to provide for further fuels management and other improvements. 

--- Authorizes an additional $4 million annually to accomplish this goal, with priority given to those jurisdictions that have already adopted defensible space plans.

--- Supplements and expands the current inspection regimen of boats launched into the Lake and provides fee supported private, local, and state inspection and decontamination stations.

--- Expedites the sale of obsolete urban lots held by the federal government and acquisition of in-fill parcels within the National Forest for better land management.

--- Fully involves local governments in land acquisition decisions that directly impact their communities.

--- Promotes tourism by prioritizing public access to the federal lands.


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Contact Information

434 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2511
Fax 202-225-5444

Committee Assignments


Natural Resources

Congressman Tom McClintock was elected in November 2008 to represent the 4th Congressional District in the United States Congress.

During 22 years in the California State Legislature, and as a candidate for governor in California’s historic recall election, Tom McClintock has become one of the most recognizable political leaders in California.

First elected to the California Assembly at the age of 26, McClintock quickly distinguished himself as an expert in parliamentary procedure and fiscal policy. He served in the Assembly from 1982 to 1992 and again from 1996 to 2000. During these years, he authored California’s current lethal injection death penalty law, spearheaded the campaign to rebate $1.1 billion in tax over-collections to the people of California, and became the driving force in the legislature to abolish the car tax. He has proposed hundreds of specific reforms to streamline state government and reduce state spending.

In 2000, McClintock was elected to the California State Senate, where he developed innovative budget solutions such as the Bureaucracy Reduction and Closure Commission and performance-based budgeting, and advocated for restoring California’s public works.

From 1992-1994, McClintock served as Director of the Center for the California Taxpayer, a project of the National Tax Limitation Foundation. In 1995, he was named Director of Economic and Regulatory Affairs for the Claremont Institute’s Golden State Center for Policy Studies, a position he held until his return to the Assembly in 1996. In that capacity, he wrote and lectured extensively on state fiscal policy, privatization, bureaucratic reform and governmental streamlining.

McClintock’s commentaries on California public policy have appeared in every major newspaper in California and he is a frequent guest on radio and television broadcasts across the nation. Numerous taxpayer associations have honored him for his leadership on state budget issues.

McClintock has twice received the Republican nomination for the office of State Controller, narrowly missing election in 2002 by the closest margin in California history – 23/100ths of one percent of the votes cast.

McClintock is the Chairman of the Water and Power Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee, and is a member of the Budget Committee and the Natural Resources Committee.   He is also a member of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands.

Tom McClintock and his wife, Lori, have two children, Justin and Shannah.

Serving With

Doug LaMalfa


Paul Cook


Jeff Denham


David Valadao


Devin Nunes


Kevin McCarthy


Steve Knight


Ed Royce


Ken Calvert


Mimi Walters


Dana Rohrabacher


Darrell Issa


Duncan Hunter


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