Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidSenate Dems: Add Flint aid to spending deal Shutdown risk grows over Flint Overnight Finance: Four days left to avert shutdown | Conservative group bucks spending bill | Lawmakers play catch-up on smartphone banking MORE (D-Nev.) is pressuring Republicans to back a Democratic push to use federal funding to combat the Flint, Mich., drinking water crisis.
"It's too bad the people on this side of the aisle disparage government all the time as too intrusive, too involved, detrimental to our society," the Nevada Democrat said, pointing to the Republican side of the Senate floor. "The governor of Michigan is one of the leading cheerleaders of that theory. ... I hope Senate Republicans will support our efforts to protect the people of Flint."
Reid also took a shot at Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioGlenn Beck: I was wrong about Ted Cruz Senate rivals gear up for debates Rubio: End of Obama's term could be 'most damaging yet' MORE (R-Fla.), who is running for president, saying that while Rubio called for federal assistance for Florida flooding victims last year, he has "cautioned against any action" in Flint.
Rubio said late last month that "in general, I believe the federal government's role in some of these things are largely limited unless it involves a federal jurisdictional issue."
The Florida Republican later told reporters that the Flint water crisis is "quite tragic." The Michigan city is dealing with severe lead contamination after changing the source of its water supply last year, and state officials have been under fire for their response.
Reid, however, said that Rubio "is not alone" and that the "same Republicans that call for relief when their states face natural disasters are disparaging government action in Flint."
Senate Democrats — led by Michigan Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowSenate Dems: Add Flint aid to spending deal GOP puts shutdown squeeze play on Dems Senate panel approves pension rescue for coal miners MORE — introduced an amendment to a wide-ranging energy bill currently before the Senate. The proposal would allocate up to $600 million in federal funding to address the crisis.
That amendment hasn't been scheduled for a vote, but Reid on Tuesday urged his "colleagues, especially my Republican friends," to support the proposal.
"The Senate has the chance to help the families suffering through a public health crisis," he said.