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U.S. House approves money for Flint water crisis, bill goes to U.S. Senate

At PechaKucha 20x20, speakers have to tell the audience "Why Flint?" using 20 images and 400 seconds.
Mark Brush
Michigan Radio
Downtown Flint.

Congress is moving forward with millions of dollars for the Flint water crisis.

The House approved $170 million to help Flint replace pipes and deal with health issues tied to the city’s lead-tainted tap water. 

The money is part of the Water Resources Development Act, which includes funds for many infrastructure projects across the U.S.

But it’s Flint’s ongoing drinking water crisis that drew the most attention to the legislation.  

“Flint needs action,” says Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, “this bi-partisan legislation delivers that.”

Here’s a breakdown on the aid coming to Flint:

  • $100 million for the Safe Water Drinking Act State Revolving Loan Fund, which Flint could use to replace lead service lines and other water infrastructure improvement needs.
  • $50 million for expanded health care, including the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Healthy Start Program and money to create a lead exposure registry.
  • $20 million in loans available through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), which would be available to Flint and other communities for water infrastructure improvement projects to address lead and other water contamination issues.

Congressional action on money for Flint has dragged on for most of the year.
That has often enraged Michigan members of Congress, like Flint's Congressman Dan Kildee.

“Every day that passes, every week that passes, every month that passes that Flint does not get the relief they so deserve, is a day we don’t get back,” Kildee said today before the vote.

It will likely be at least another day before the U.S. Senate votes.

Passage is expected. But then again, Congress was expected to act on relief for Flint a long time ago.  

“Today the U.S. House did something we’ve long been waiting for, by voting for a $170 million package that would help the City of Flint recover from the water crisis that has affected our city for two and a half years," Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said in a written statement, "I strongly urge the same approval be given Friday in the U.S. Senate."

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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