Flint

Michigan Lawmakers Laud Long-Awaited Flint Aid
Congress has approved $170 million in assistance

Michigan Democratic lawmakers, from left, Sen. Gary Peters, Rep. Dan Kildee, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Rep. Brenda Lawrence and Rep. John Conyers Jr. attend a news conference on Capitol Hill in September on aid for the Flint water crisis. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress has approved aid for the city of Flint, Michigan, which has been grappling with a water contamination crisis since late 2014.

Michigan lawmakers have been working for nearly a year to secure funds to replace water pipes that poisoned the city’s water with lead.

Will CR Potholes Become Democratic Roadblocks?
Continuing resolution text released Tuesday contains items Senate Democrats don’t like

Sen. Joe Manchin said he would slow Senate business unless assistance to retired miners gets full funding. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By NIELS LESNIEWSKI and BRIDGET BOWMANCQ Roll Call

The release of a continuing resolution Tuesday evening has made clear the potholes that could get in the way of Congress making a quick exit from the Capitol by Friday when funding for the government expires.

Michigan Delegation Joined Leadership at Negotiating Table
Flint Rep. Dan Kildee helped secure language on water bill that led to CR deal

From left, Rep. Dan Kildee, Sen. Gary Peters and Rep. Sander Levin, all Michigan Democrats, leave a news conference in the Capitol. Funding for the Flint water crisis was not included in the 10-week stopgap spending bill passed by Congress on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Eleventh-hour government funding deals are usually negotiated between the leaders of both parties in the House and Senate and the White House. This year, there were some extra players at the table.

Members of the Michigan delegation were heavily involved in securing aid for the city of Flint, which has been stricken by a water contamination crisis for more than a year.

House Republicans to Allow Flint Vote
Deal on water bill amendment expected to resolve government funding impasse

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, right, seen here with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, has reached an agreement with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to allow an amendment authorizing aid for Flint, Michigan, to be included in a water resources bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans late Tuesday acquiesced to Democrats’ demands to  address the Flint, Michigan, water contamination crisis, when the Rules Committee voted to allow an amendment to a water resources measure that would authorize $170 million in assistance.

The move comes just one day after the Rules panel blocked a similar attempt to get a vote on Flint aid as the chamber took up the Water Resources Development Act. The change of heart signals interest in resolving a stalemate over Flint that has held up a must-pass stopgap spending bill to keep government agencies running into December.

Mistrust Of House GOP Threatens Stopgap Spending Bill
Flint aid and Louisiana flood relief at risk of being sidelined

Michigan Sen. Gary Peters speaks at a news conference in the Capitol on Tuesday with his Democratic colleagues, callingfor aid for the Flint water crisis to be included in the continuing resolution. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Mistrust of House Republicans is making it difficult for Congress to agree on a plan to fund the government past the end of the week.

Democratic senators on Tuesday indicated that they might support a short-term spending bill that doesn't address flood relief for Louisiana or aid to deal with the lead-tainted water supply in Flint, Michigan, as long as they get a commitment that the House will address the Flint crisis in another piece of legislation.

Democrats Insisting on Flint Aid in CR Indicates Last Opportunity
Democratic groups sent letters to McConnell, Ryan pushing Flint funding in stopgap bill

Drinking water is stacked at the Sylvester Broome Center in Flint, Mich., February 22, 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats are heading toward a hard-line position on Flint water crisis aid.

“I'm not going to support the [continuing resolution] and there's a growing number of Democrats that are taking that same position,” Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., said of a government funding package Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released Thursday that did not include money for Flint.

Flint Aid Could Pass Senate, but Faces Uncertain Future
Michigan senators have worked for months to secure aid for stricken city

Flint residents were forced to use bottled water amid the lead poisoning crisis. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate could move forward Monday on a measure that includes aid for Flint, Michigan, nearly one year after a doctor sounded the alarm about high levels of lead in local children's blood.

Senators will take a procedural vote on a water resources bill that would authorize water infrastructure projects. The measure includes more than $200 million in funds directed at places like Flint. The city's residents have been coping with lead poisoning in their water, a result of corroded pipes after the city switched water supplies in April 2014.

Obama Gets Earful in Flint
President visits city rocked by tainted water crisis, hears complaints, frustrations

Barack Obama drinks filtered water during a meeting in Flint, Mich., on Wednesday. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Residents of Flint, Mich., let President Barack Obama hear their frustrations about their city’s drinking water crisis. But they cheered when he asked for a glass drawn from the city’s once-toxic system, and again when he took a sip.  

Obama used his trip Wednesday to meet with residents and deliver what at times sounded like a sermon about the role government should play in Americans’ lives. He said government is an “extension” of every citizen, adding “our success depends on each other.”  

Tempered Expectations Await Obama in Crisis-Plagued Flint
President is not expected to make any new policy announcements during trip

   

President Barack Obama will tell predominantly African-American Flint, Mich., residents their country is not abandoning them, but he is not expected to announce any sweeping federal effort to end their drinking water crisis.  

'Little Miss Flint' Brings Obama To Michigan
No clean water, no money from Congress, but Flint residents will host the president

Vivian Simpson advertises the water distribution area at the St. Mark Baptist Church in Flint, Mich. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The city may not have clean tap water or aid from Congress to fix corroded water pipes. But there's one thing Flint, Mich., has had in abundant supply in recent months: politicians.  

On Wednesday, President Obama said he would add his name to a long roster of elected officials making the trek from D.C. to visit the city, which has become a national symbol of crumbling infrastructure  and environmental crimes against minority communities since the discovery that tens of thousands of people drank lead-tainted tap water.