After Flint, Dems question state's use of CDC funds

After Flint, Dems question state's use of CDC funds
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Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are raising questions about Michigan’s use of CDC money intended to monitor lead levels in young children in light of the water crisis in Flint.

In a letter to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Thomas Frieden, four Democrats asked why Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services — which received a CDC grant to track lead levels in children under 6 — didn’t respond more quickly to the water problems in Flint. 

“We seek CDC’s assistance to better understand how the State of Michigan used its three-year funding from the CDC and why Michigan officials failed to detect and respond to rising lead blood levels in children after the city of Flint switched the city’s water supply to the Flint River,” wrote Democratic Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), Gene GreenRaymond (Gene) Eugene GreenTexas New Members 2019 Two Democrats become first Texas Latinas to serve in Congress Latina Leaders to Watch 2018 MORE (Texas), Diana DeGetteDiana Louise DeGetteCrucial for Congress to fund life-saving diabetes research Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — White House withdraws controversial rule to eliminate drug rebates | Grassley says deal on drug prices moving 'very soon' | Appeals court declines to halt Trump abortion referral ban Overnight Energy: Top EPA official stepping down amid ethics probe | Critics slam EPA for rolling back union protections | Trump officials open door to controversial Alaska mining project MORE (Colo.) and Paul TonkoPaul David TonkoHere are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Overnight Energy: EPA expands use of pesticide it considers 'highly toxic' to bees | House passes defense bill with measure targeting 'forever chemicals' | Five things to watch as Barry barrels through the Gulf House passes bill to crack down on toxic 'forever chemicals' MORE (N.Y.). 

The group also asks whether the agency needs more funding for its Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.

The program provides grants to 29 states, the District of Columbia and five cities for lead poisoning prevention and oversight work. The program received $17 million in 2016, down nearly half from what lawmakers appropriated in 2011.

“We seek to understand whether our federal investments in lead poisoning prevention and public health surveillance are up to the task of addressing this public health challenge and whether additional resources are merited,” the letter reads.

Water quality around the U.S. has come under scrutiny since lead levels in Flint water surged after city officials switched the drinking water supply, causing health problems and outrage in the city and nationwide.

The crisis has lead to criticism of how federal and state environmental and health regulators failed Flint. Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to call on 2020 Democrats to reject money from drug, health insurance industries The hidden connection between immigration and health care: Our long-term care crisis Harris tops Biden in California 2020 poll MORE and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump thanks 'vicious young Socialist Congresswomen' for his poll numbers Will Trump's racist tweets backfire? Democrats fret over Trump cash machine MORE will hold a debate in the city shortly before the Michigan primary.