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

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

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 DeGette87 lawmakers ask EPA to reverse course after rescinding methane regulations Overnight Health Care: Supreme Court to hear ObamaCare arguments 1 week after election | NYC positive COVID-19 tests hit record low With Biden, advocates sense momentum for lifting abortion funding ban MORE (Colo.) and Paul TonkoPaul David TonkoClark rolls out endorsements in assistant Speaker race OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court upholds permit for B pipeline under Appalachian Trail | Report finds NOAA 'Sharpiegate' statement 'not based on science' but political influence | EPA faces suit over plan to release genetically engineered mosquito Report finds NOAA 'sharpiegate' statement 'not based on science' but political influence MORE (N.Y.). 

ADVERTISEMENT

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 SandersMcConnell accuses Democrats of sowing division by 'downplaying progress' on election security The Hill's Campaign Report: Arizona shifts towards Biden | Biden prepares for drive-in town hall | New Biden ad targets Latino voters Why Democrats must confront extreme left wing incitement to violence MORE and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillicon Valley: FBI chief says Russia is trying to interfere in election to undermine Biden | Treasury Dept. sanctions Iranian government-backed hackers The Hill's Campaign Report: Arizona shifts towards Biden | Biden prepares for drive-in town hall | New Biden ad targets Latino voters FBI chief says Russia is trying to interfere in election to undermine Biden MORE will hold a debate in the city shortly before the Michigan primary.