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 LeeOvernight Defense: Senate sides with Trump on military role in Yemen | Dem vets push for new war authorization on Iraq anniversary | General says time isn't 'right' for space corps Senate sides with Trump on providing Saudi military support Senate, Trump clash over Saudi Arabia 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 StabenowSenators target 'gag clauses' that hide potential savings on prescriptions Nonprofit leaders look to continue work with lawmakers to strengthen charitable giving 10 Senate Democrats are up for reelection in Trump country 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 Bruce VitterTrump nominates wife of ex-Louisiana senator to be federal judge Where is due process in all the sexual harassment allegations? Not the Senate's job to second-guess Alabama voters MORE (R-La.) also has a hold on the measure, due to his objections to the related energy bill. Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz says Cambridge Analytica assured him its practices were legal Dem battling Cruz in Texas: ‘I can understand how people think this is crazy’ Overnight Tech: Facebook faces crisis over Cambridge Analytica data | Lawmakers demand answers | What to watch for next | Day one of AT&T's merger trial | Self-driving Uber car kills pedestrian 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.