Obama Outlines $160M in Federal Assistance For Drought Stricken California

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President Obama announced $160 million in federal aid to drought-stricken agricultural areas during a visit to Fresno on Friday, before traveling on to Palm Springs for the weekend.


Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Barbara Boxer listen while President Barack Obama meets with locals at the San Luis Water Facility on Feb. 14, 2014 in Firebaugh, Calif. (Credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

His visit to California began Friday afternoon and was slated to end Monday.

In the Palm Springs area, Obama planned to stay at the Sunnylands Estate in Rancho Mirage, where he was set to meet with Jordanian King Abdullah II.

No public events were scheduled over the weekend, according to the White House.

Air Force One arrived at Palm Springs International Airport just after 7:00 p.m. Friday.

The president stayed at the estate, owned by Walter and Leonore Annenberg, last June, when he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In Fresno, he was joined by Gov. Jerry Brown, Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, and other officials to discuss California’s historic drought.


A sign over a freeway Glendale warns motorists to save water in response to California’s severe drought on Feb. 14, 2014. (Credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

He arrived at Fresno Yosemite International Airport about 3:30 p.m. amid a huge cloud of dust that had White House aides remarking on the drought, according to a pool report.

Later, meeting with politicians and representatives of agriculture, labor and water interests in nearby Firebaugh, he said the state’s drought raises huge concern nationally because of California’s role as an agriculture powerhouse for the whole country.

He said he had been warned in advance about the state’s history of conflict over water.

“Water has been seen as a zero-sum game: agriculture against urban, north against south,” Obama said.

“We’re going to have to figure out how to play a different game,” he said, looking around circle and making eye contact with several participants, according to a pool reporter from the Los Angeles Times.

The federal assistance included up to $100 million in livestock disaster assistance for California producers, $60 million for California food banks, and the establishment of 600 summer meal sites in drought-stricken areas of the state.

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