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 LeeMcConnell, allies lean into Twitter, media 'war' Conservatives buck Trump over worries of 'socialist' drug pricing Criminal justice reform should extend to student financial aid 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 StabenowUSDA eases relocation timeline as researchers flee agency USDA office move may have broken law, watchdog says Senate Democrats see Warren, Sanders proposals as unfeasible 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 VitterGrocery group hires new top lobbyist Lobbying World Senate confirms Trump judge who faced scrutiny over abortion views MORE (R-La.) also has a hold on the measure, due to his objections to the related energy bill. Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape O'Rourke says he will not 'in any scenario' run for Senate 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.