Aid For Flint Bill Delayed By Mike Lee In Congress
Aid for Flint is being put on hold by Mike Lee, a Republican senator from Utah. Lee defended his decision not to provide $220 million in aid to handle the Flint, Michigan water crisis by saying that it is a man-made disaster and that federal money is not needed.
Help for Flint from the federal government is stuck in Washington because of one Republican senator. On Friday, a bill that was supposed to provide $220 million in aid to Flint, Michigan, amid its water crisis where the lead has poisoned thousands, was put on pause.
The water contamination began in the summer of 2014 after the city decided to change its water source from treated Detroit Water and Sewerage Department water to Flint River to save money. For two years, doctors, residents, and some officials tried to get the Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, to focus on a series of health danger caused by the lead contamination, but in vain. According to experts:
… between 6,000 and 12,000 children have been exposed to drinking water with high levels of lead and they may experience a range of serious health problems. Lead poisoning can destroy brain tissue and cause irreversible developmental problems in children. The water change is also a possible cause of an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the county that has killed 10 people and affected another 77.
The federal aid would provide funds to help Flint and several other cities with the same problems to fix and replace lead pipes and address lead poisoning. So, why is Mike Lee holding back the bill? In a lengthy statement, he revealed that many politicians are using the water crisis in Flint to send federal dollars to their home states, and added:
“The state of Michigan has an enormous budget surplus this year and a large rainy-day fund, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. Governor [Rick] Snyder has requested $200 million of that from the state legislature for Flint this year. Relief and repair efforts are already in the works.The people and policymakers of Michigan right now have all the government resources they need to fix the problem.”
Presidential candidate and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who joined Lee to block and oppose a quick vote on the deal, has announced that after reading the bill, he believes that his colleagues should approve it.
Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat from Michigan, a key sponsor of the bill, said she was upset and disappointed that Lee would hold up a bill that would “help communities across the country, including in his home state of Utah.” Stabenow said that Lee should vote against the bill, not hold it up.
What are your thoughts on aid for Flint being delayed?