Senator lifts hold on Flint aid bill

Senator lifts hold on Flint aid bill

Sen. David VitterDavid Bruce VitterWhere is due process in all the sexual harassment allegations? Not the Senate's job to second-guess Alabama voters The Senate 'ethics' committee is a black hole where allegations die MORE (R-La.) has removed his hold on a bill to help Flint, Mich., and other communities with drinking water contamination.

A Vitter aide said Tuesday that the hold was removed because his issue with the related energy legislation was resolved.

The action removes one major hurdle in the bipartisan push to pass a $250 million package to give infrastructure and assistance to Flint and other areas with similar problems. Dangerous levels of lead began leaching into the city's water supply after the state's governor, Rick Snyder, switched from Lake Huron to the Flint River.

But another big hurdle still remains: Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle With religious liberty memo, Trump made America free to be faithful again This week: Time running out for Congress to avoid shutdown MORE (R-Utah) still has a hold on the bill, preventing it from moving forward by unanimous consent. Lee is the only remaining senator of a group of Republicans that had holds on the legislation, including Vitter and Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWith religious liberty memo, Trump made America free to be faithful again Interstate compacts aren't the right way to fix occupational licensing laws Texas Dem: ‘I don’t know what to believe’ about what Trump wants for wall MORE (R-Texas), who is running for president.

Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowSenate Finance Dems want more transparency on trade from Trump Prominent Michigan Republican drops out of Senate primary GOP chairman shoots down Democrat effort to delay tax work until Jones is seated MORE (D-Mich.) was optimistic that a resolution on Lee’s objection is within reach.

“We’ve possibly found a path forward,” she told reporters Tuesday. “We’ll know by the end of the day.”

Vitter objected to the energy bill, which the Senate is moving along with the Flint bill, because it didn’t have strong enough language to encourage fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

But Lee objects to the Flint bill, saying it’s not the federal government’s place to help cities with drinking water problems if the states can handle it themselves.

Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) said that he’s scheduled a meeting with Lee to try to resolve the problem and get him to lift his hold.

“I will be speaking to him this afternoon,” Peters said.

Peters also strongly disagreed with Lee’s opinion of bill.

“It’s outrageous to think we're grandstanding,” Peters said. “I would just encourage Sen. Lee to go to Flint and talk directly to the people who are living on bottled water.”

— Jordain Carney contributed to this story.