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 DeGetteLawmakers criticize EPA draft rule for curbing rights to challenge pollution permits Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Crucial for Congress to fund life-saving diabetes research MORE (Colo.) and Paul TonkoPaul David TonkoDemocrats ramp up calls to investigate NOAA Schumer slams Ross for 'thuggish behavior' over reportedly threatening to fire officials Overnight Energy: Democrats call for Ross to resign over report he threatened NOAA officials | Commerce denies report | Documents detail plan to decentralize BLM | Lawmakers demand answers on bee-killing pesticide 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 supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth Kamala Harris calls for new investigation into Kavanaugh allegations MORE and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to California Hillary Clinton: Voter suppression has led to 'crisis in democracy' in the US MORE will hold a debate in the city shortly before the Michigan primary.