Senators: No deal yet on Flint aid, energy bill

Senators: No deal yet on Flint aid, energy bill
© Greg Nash

The leaders of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee said Monday that they still haven’t come to an agreement on an aid package for Flint, Mich.’s drinking water crisis.

Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenators press administration on mental health parity Overnight Energy: Watchdogs unveil findings on EPA, Interior controversies | GAO says EPA violated law with soundproof booth | IG says Zinke could have avoided charter flight | GOP chair probes Pruitt's four email addresses GOP fractures over push to protect Russia probe MORE (R-Alaska) and Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellLobbying World Interior won't lower offshore drilling royalty rates Watchdog: Zinke could have avoided charter flight after meeting with Las Vegas hockey team MORE (D-Wash.) said they worked throughout the weekend to come to a deal that both parties could support, which would allow passage of the broad energy reform bill the senators have been working on for more than a year.

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“With our time on the Senate floor running short, we are working toward an agreement to allow our energy bill to move forward,” Murkowski and Cantwell said in a joint statement. “At the same time, we are working to help advance a measure to address the Flint water crisis and hope that it will be brought up as soon as possible.”

The senators said they’ve been speaking with colleagues “to remind them of the many good provisions in our bill” and to figure out what’s possible for Flint.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP senator: Democratic opposition to Pompeo 'driven 100 percent by politics' Pompeo lacks votes for positive vote on panel GOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees MORE (R-Ky.) turned up the heat against Democrats, blasting them for blocking the bill and the amendment process.

“It’s disappointing for our country. We’re hoping our friends will reconsider,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Monday.

“I’m asking colleagues to take ‘yes’ for an answer and allow the open amendment process to continue so that we can pass it.”

Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked the energy bill from moving forward because there wasn’t agreement on an amendment to help Flint recover from lead poisoning in its water.

Democratic Michigan Sens. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowSenators push HHS to negotiate lower prices on opioid overdose reversal drug Senators press administration on mental health parity Progressive groups launch M midterm initiative in three battleground states MORE and Gary Peters wanted a $600 million package, and though Republicans were open to negotiating, they wanted to spend less.

Stabenow and Peters said Thursday that they were “very close” to a resolution in their talks with Republicans.