Senator lifts hold on Flint aid bill

Senator lifts hold on Flint aid bill

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.) has removed his hold on a bill to help Flint, Mich., and other communities with drinking water contamination.

A Vitter aide said Tuesday that the hold was removed because his issue with the related energy legislation was resolved.


The action removes one major hurdle in the bipartisan push to pass a $250 million package to give infrastructure and assistance to Flint and other areas with similar problems. Dangerous levels of lead began leaching into the city's water supply after the state's governor, Rick Snyder, switched from Lake Huron to the Flint River.

But another big hurdle still remains: 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) still has a hold on the bill, preventing it from moving forward by unanimous consent. Lee is the only remaining senator of a group of Republicans that had holds on the legislation, including Vitter and Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzIs this any way for NASA to build a lunar lander? GOP strategist predicts Biden will win nomination, cites fundraising strength 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 MORE (R-Texas), who is running for president.

Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowUSDA cuts payments promised to researchers as agency uproots to Kansas City USDA eases relocation timeline as researchers flee agency USDA office move may have broken law, watchdog says MORE (D-Mich.) was optimistic that a resolution on Lee’s objection is within reach.

“We’ve possibly found a path forward,” she told reporters Tuesday. “We’ll know by the end of the day.”

Vitter objected to the energy bill, which the Senate is moving along with the Flint bill, because it didn’t have strong enough language to encourage fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

But Lee objects to the Flint bill, saying it’s not the federal government’s place to help cities with drinking water problems if the states can handle it themselves.

Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) said that he’s scheduled a meeting with Lee to try to resolve the problem and get him to lift his hold.

“I will be speaking to him this afternoon,” Peters said.

Peters also strongly disagreed with Lee’s opinion of bill.

“It’s outrageous to think we're grandstanding,” Peters said. “I would just encourage Sen. Lee to go to Flint and talk directly to the people who are living on bottled water.”

— Jordain Carney contributed to this story.