Dem calls on House leaders to take up Flint aid bill

Dem calls on House leaders to take up Flint aid bill
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The lawmaker who represents Flint, Mich., in the House is calling on Republican leaders to let the chamber vote on an aid package to help address the city’s drinking water crisis.

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) cited Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanOcasio-Cortez top aide emerges as lightning rod amid Democratic feud Juan Williams: GOP in a panic over Mueller House Republicans dismissive of Paul Ryan's take on Trump MORE’s (R-Wis.) statement Wednesday that the House will soon vote on legislation to combat the nation's opioid abuse epidemic. In a letter to Ryan on Thursday, Kildee said Flint, which still has dangerously high levels of lead in its water, is in the midst of a similar disaster that deserves a similar response from Congress.

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“In times of crisis, Congress has repeatedly acted, in a bipartisan fashion, to provide aid to Americans in need,” he wrote, recalling congressional action to assist the victims of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy with billions of dollars.

“Mr. Speaker, the people in Flint are suffering. They need our help too.”

Kildee has repeatedly pushed for congressional action on Flint. Under state supervision, the city changed its water supply to the Flint River in 2014 as a cost-saving move. But the water wasn't properly treated to travel through lead pipes, and the toxic metal leached into the supply.

He did not specify what kind of aid package he wants the House to vote on, but he has previously endorsed the Senate’s $220 million legislation to expand various loan programs to allow cities with water contamination, including Flint, to access more federal funds.

The House voted in February on a much smaller Flint bill, sponsored by Kildee and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), to require more public notification about lead contamination in drinking water. But that did not provide monetary aid to the city.

Federal and state officials have provided various emergency aid to Flint, including through health and environmental programs, bottled water, water testing and other efforts.

Senators in both parties had hoped to attach the $220 million package to the Senate’s energy legislation. But leaders said late Wednesday that the energy bill would move forward next week without the Flint provision.

Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowGOP Senate challenger in Michigan raises .5 million in less than a month It's time to let Medicare to negotiate drug prices Trump judicial nominee says he withdrew over 'gross mischaracterizations' of record MORE (D-Mich.) said GOP leaders promised to allow a vote on the Senate floor on Flint aid at some point.