Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said Friday federal aid isn’t needed in Flint, Michigan, where lead-contaminated pipes have resulted in an ongoing public health crisis.
Lee said he is blocking a bipartisan bill to address the water crisis in Flint because Michigan’s Gov. Rick Snyder has not asked for federal help and the state doesn’t need it.
“Michigan has an enormous budget surplus this year” and a rainy-day fund totaling several hundred million dollars, Lee said. The state has approved $70 million in emergency funding for Flint, and Snyder has requested at least $165 million more toward the Flint emergency.
“The people and policymakers of Michigan right now have all the government resources they need to fix the problem,” Lee said. “The only thing Congress is contributing to the Flint recovery is political grandstanding.”
Senators from both sides of the aisle reached a tentative deal last month for a $220 million package to fix and replace lead-contaminated pipes in Flint and other cities, but the bill remains on hold.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., a key sponsor of the bill, said she was surprised and disappointed that Lee would hold up the bipartisan measure that would “help communities across the country, including in his home state of Utah.” If Lee opposes the bill opposes the bill, he should vote against it and not block it, she said.
More than two dozen Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, visited Flint on Friday to hear from families affected by the water crisis.
Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., said the visit allowed lawmakers to hear about Flint’s problems firsthand and also served to keep up pressure for Congress to act on the stalled bill. Kildee criticized Lee and other Senate Republicans for delaying the bill and noted that dozens of lawmakers have visited Flint in recent weeks — all Democrats.
Republican presidential candidates addressed the Flint crisis for no more than “one fleeting second” at a debate in Detroit Thursday night, Pelosi said. “I think that was really an embarrassment,” she said.
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SOURCE: Fox News