Tags: aid | for | flint | water | held up | mike lee

Aid for Flint Bill to Help With Water Held Up By Utah Sen. Mike Lee

Image: Aid for Flint Bill to Help With Water Held Up By Utah Sen. Mike Lee
U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) speaks at the Freedom Summit at The Executive Court Banquet Facility April 12, 2014 in Manchester, New Hampshire. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 07 Mar 2016 02:03 PM

Federal aid for Flint, Michigan, to assist with the crisis of high levels of lead in the water there, is being held up by U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.

Legislation introduced by U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, both democrats from Michigan, calls for the federal Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to make up to $100 million in grants between now and October 2017 to states with a public health threat from contamination of public drinking water, the Detroit Free-Press reported. It also includes $70 million in subsidies for water infrastructure projects and $50 million for public health.

But Lee is blocking the bill, saying it is unnecessary and that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder hasn’t asked for federal assistance and noting the state has “an enormous budget surplus this year and a large rainy-day fund, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.”

“What is happening to the people of Flint, Michigan is a man-made disaster,” Lee said in a statement Friday. “Congress has special mechanisms for emergency spending when it is needed, but to date Michigan’s governor has not asked us for any.”

Lee said Michigan has all the resources it needs and that the involvement of Congress in the issue amounts to political grandstanding.

“What’s really happening here is that Washington politicians are using the crisis in Flint as an excuse to funnel taxpayer money to their own home states, and trying to sneak it through the Senate without proper debate and amendment. I respectfully object,” Lee said in the statement.

Lee put a “hold” on the bill, which slows its consideration, but the hold can be bypassed procedurally.

Stabenow said she was disappointed by Lee’s action, saying that if he opposed the bill he should simply vote against it rather than holding it up, NBC News reported.

The bill would be paid for by redirecting money from an Energy Department loan program.

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz lifted a hold he had placed on the bill last month.

The water crisis in Flint began in 2014 when the town began pumping water from the Flint River, which caused corrosion of water pipes, leading to high levels of lead coming into residential and business plumbing.

Twitter users criticized Lee’s position.







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Federal aid for Flint, Michigan, to assist with the crisis of high levels of lead in the water there, is being held up by U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.
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