By Mark Hensch - 02/10/16 02:02 PM EST
Gov. Rick Snyder (R-Mich.) is calling for $195 million in his state's budget to address Flint’s drinking water crisis.
Snyder proposed the new spending while offering his fiscal 2017 budget blueprint in Lansing, Mich. on Wednesday, according to Dow Jones Business News.
Michigan is struggling to respond to the crisis in Flint where the drinking water supply has been contaminated by lead from older pipes.
The proposed spending would allocate $37 million to ensure Flint has clean drinking water, as well as $63 million for health and early education programs to blunt the impact of lead poisoning, particularly in children.
Michigan’s total state spending on the health crisis now totals more than $230 million, according to the report.
Snyder’s budget address was greeted by protests outside Michigan’s legislative chamber, according to Dow Jones.
The Republican governor has faced withering criticism – including calls to resign – over his handling of Flint.
“We face tremendous challenges this year, and we’re taking those challenges head on,” Snyder told state lawmakers.
Flint’s woes began in 2014 when emergency managers appointed by Snyder switched its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River to save money.
The new source did not contain adequate chemical protection against lead leaching from its pipe system, exposing residents to potentially toxic doses of the heavy metal.
The man-made disaster has since sparked national outrage, with worries the prolonged lead exposure could cause brain damage, developmental issues in children, and other health concerns.
Snyder angered House Democrats by refusing to appear at a Wednesday hearing on Flint.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver (D), is attending the hearing before the Democrats' Steering and Policy Committee on Capitol Hill.
Congress is still struggling over an aid package for Flint, which held up a Senate energy reform bill on the floor.