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article imageSenator: Federal funding for Flint is 'political grandstanding'

By Karen Graham     Mar 5, 2016 in Politics
A Utah senator is holding up a federal funding package worth more than $100 million to help address the lead contamination in Flint, Michigan's water, saying on Friday that Michigan didn't need the money at this time.
U.S. Senator Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, believes the funding measure proposed by U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, both Democrats from Michigan, represented "federalizing" of the state's water infrastructure, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Lee noted that the state of Michigan had not directly asked the federal government for any emergency funding and has its own surplus of money to spend if it's needed. In his statement, Lee said: "Michigan has an enormous budget surplus this year and a large rainy-day fund. Relief and repair efforts are already in the works. The people and policymakers of Michigan right now have all the government resources they need to fix the problem. … The only thing Congress is contributing to the Flint recovery is political grandstanding.”
Stabenow has worked the halls of Congress for weeks to get enough bipartisan support to sponsor the measure and was surprised that Lee had suddenly put a hold on the bill. The move by Lee effectively stops the Senate vote, even though the money has already been appropriated.
“This bill doesn’t increase federal spending by one penny,” said Stabenow. She pointed out the money could be used to help communities all across the country, and not just Flint. She feels the measure should, at least, come to a vote. According to the wording of the legislation, if it passed, it would allow funding up to $100 million to be granted "to any state that receives an emergency declaration ... to a public health threat from lead or other contaminants in a public drinking water system."
Because the measure is open to any state using the funds, according to USA Today, Lee feels the bill is a power grab by Washington politicians to funnel monies into their own states. Lee may be right, but it still leaves Flint's residents without clean water to drink.
More about Flint michigan, Federal funding, Budget surplus, political grandstanding, Lead contamination
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