Reid pushes for Flint aid as energy bill nears finish line

Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidSuper-PAC targets Portman on trade Dem leader urges compromise on FCC set-top box plan Senate Dems introduce Iran sanctions extension MORE (D-Nev.) is urging lawmakers to attach aid for the Flint, Mich., drinking water crisis to a wide-ranging energy bill. 

"Before we rush off into the congratulatory phase of this legislation, there has to be an opportunity to work something out on Flint, Michigan, and the tremendous problems they have," the Democratic leader said Wednesday. 

Reid's comments come as Democrats, led by Michigan Sens. Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowDems to GOP: Admit Trump is 'unfit' to be president Senate Dems push Obama for more Iran transparency GMO labeling bill good for both environment and the poor MORE and Gary Peters, have been working to include assistance for Flint in the energy reform legislation from Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiBig Oil makes a push for risky and reckless Arctic drilling GOP divided over 0M for climate fund Overnight Energy: House passes first Interior, EPA spending bill in seven years MORE (R-Alaska) and Maria CantwellMaria CantwellRemembering small business during the presidential election GOP energy negotiator accuses Senate chairman of 'bizarre' promise House chairman: Energy bill unlikely before election MORE (D-Wash.). 

Stabenow suggested on Tuesday that lawmakers were "very close" on a deal. 

But with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellProgressive group changes tone on Kaine Trump hits Kaine on TPP: He supports a 'job killer' Clinton maps out first 100 days MORE (R-Ky.) moving to end debate on the energy bill on Tuesday evening and leadership suggesting they want to finish the legislation on Thursday, senators are running out of time.

Reid, however, added that he hopes "we can work something out" on an amendment from Stabenow and Peters that would give up to $600 million to combat the Flint, Mich., drinking water crisis. 

The Michigan city is dealing with severe lead contamination after changing the source of its water supply in 2014. State officials, who initially downplayed the problems, have been under fire for their response.

"It is very important for the people of Michigan and an example of what we need to do to help the country with these problems," Reid added. 

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinOpioid package clears key Senate hurdle Overnight Healthcare: Feds defend ObamaCare's affordability DNC chief spared in Sanders-Clinton talks: report MORE (D-Ill.) stopped short on Tuesday of saying that Democrats would oppose the energy bill if the Flint assistance wasn't added. 

"Well we certainly want a vote, and I hope that that's going to be allowed," he told reporters.

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