GOP senator slams Flint aid bill as ‘political grandstanding’

GOP senator slams Flint aid bill as ‘political grandstanding’
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Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSupreme Court takes on same-sex wedding cake case House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama Trump really will shrink government, starting with national monuments MORE (R-Utah) is blasting the bipartisan bill to help Flint, Mich., through its drinking water crisis, calling it an unnecessary way for senators to show off.

Lee is one of two remaining senators blocking quick progress on the bill. It wouldn’t provide any direct aid to Flint, instead expanding a pair of loan programs to help water contamination problems and growing some health programs.

In a Friday statement, he said the bill isn’t so much a Flint aid measure as a way to federalize water infrastructure.

“The state of Michigan has an enormous budget surplus this year and a large rainy-day fund, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. Gov. [Rick] Snyder has requested $200 million of that from the state legislature for Flint this year. Relief and repair efforts are already in the works,” Lee said in his statement.

“The people and policymakers of Michigan right now have all the government resources they need to fix the problem. And those public resources are being augmented every day by the generosity of individuals, businesses, labor unions, and civic organizations of every stripe from across the country. The only thing Congress is contributing to the Flint recovery is political grandstanding.”

Lee said the reality behind the Flint aid debate 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.”

Michigan Democratic Sens. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Democrats to Trump: Ask Forest Service before shrinking monuments MORE and Gary Peters had originally asked for up to $400 million directly for Flint, and $200 million for other efforts related to lead poisoning. But Republicans complained that it would set a new precedent, and the two parties negotiated toward the current measure, which has broad bipartisan support.

Sen. David VitterDavid VitterThe Senate 'ethics' committee is a black hole where allegations die Questions loom over Franken ethics probe You're fired! Why it's time to ditch the Fed's community banker seat MORE (R-La.) also has a hold on the measure, due to his objections to the related energy bill. Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzDebbie Wasserman Schultz marks 10 years as breast cancer survivor Foreign agent registration is no magical shield against Russian propaganda Let Trump be Trump and he'll sail through 2020 MORE (R-Texas), who is running for president, had also put a hold on both bills while his staff reviewed them, but he dropped his objection last week.