Pelosi: GOP candidates ‘may be in denial' about Flint

Pelosi: GOP candidates ‘may be in denial' about Flint
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House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) questioned how seriously GOP presidential candidates and Michigan’s Republican governor are taking the Flint, Mich., water crisis on Friday.

At a press conference in Flint, Pelosi hailed the way lawmakers in Congress — including Republicans — are approaching the problems in the city, where corroded pipes have led to dangerous levels of lead in the city’s drinking water. 

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But Pelosi said she wasn’t sure the GOP presidential candidates are on the same page.

“I had said yesterday in a press conference in D.C., in working with the Speaker [Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAmash storm hits Capitol Hill Debate with Donald Trump? Just say no Ex-Trump adviser says GOP needs a better health-care message for 2020 MORE, R-Wis.] on this issue, I saw nothing but signs of good will as we would go forward because they are not in denial,” she said Friday. “The presidentials may be in denial, and the governor may be in denial.”

Flint has become a leading issue for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. The House passed a bill changing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) policies in response to the water crisis, and senators are inching closer to voting on an aid package for Flint and other cities with water quality problems. 

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who has taken the brunt of Democratic criticism in the wake of the crisis, will testify on the matter before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee later this month with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyOvernight Energy: Senate Dems introduce Green New Deal alternative | Six Republicans named to House climate panel | Wheeler confirmed to lead EPA Overnight Energy: Joshua Tree National Park lost M in fees due to shutdown | Dem senator, AGs back case against oil giants | Trump officials secretly shipped plutonium to Nevada Overnight Energy: Ethics panel clears Grijalva over settlement with staffer | DC aims to run on 100 percent clean energy by 2032 | Judges skeptical of challenge to Obama smog rule MORE.

Both Democratic presidential candidates have said more needs to be done for Flint. Democrats Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton slams Trump for spreading 'sexist trash' about Pelosi Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign DNC boss says candidates to be involved in debate lottery MORE and Bernie SandersBernie SandersGillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign DNC boss says candidates to be involved in debate lottery CEO pay rising twice as fast as worker pay: AP MORE will debate in the city on Sunday night ahead of Tuesday’s Michigan presidential primaries.

Flint came up only once in Thursday night’s GOP presidential debate in Detroit, when Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFrustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump GOP senators work to get Trump on board with new disaster aid package MORE defended Snyder’s handling of the crisis and lamented that it became a political issue. 

“The way the Democrats have tried to turn this into a partisan issue, that somehow Republicans woke up in the morning and decided, ‘Oh, it’s a good idea to poison some kids with lead,’ it’s absurd, it’s outrageous, it isn’t true," he said.

Pelosi on Friday, visiting Flint with a delegation of House members, noted the “one fleeting second” the candidates addressed the issue, calling it “really an embarrassment.”

“I think that today is one of the least political days I have spent,” she said. “This isn’t about politicizing. This is about accountability. It’s about helping, it’s about healing, it’s about giving people hope and it’s about not underutilizing any resource to do that at every level.”