Cruz blocks vote on bill to resolve Flint water crisis

WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is holding up bipartisan legislation to address the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, where lead-contaminated pipes have resulted in an ongoing public health emergency.

See Full Article

Senators reached a tentative deal Wednesday for a $220 million package to fix and replace the city's lead-contaminated pipes, make other infrastructure improvements and bolster lead-prevention programs nationwide.

Cruz, of Texas, and at least one other GOP senator objected to a quick vote on the deal, delaying Senate consideration of the bill until at least next week. Cruz was campaigning Thursday ahead of a scheduled Republican debate in Houston, but senators are able to block bills remotely under Senate rules.

"There are a few holds" on the bill, Kristina Baum, a spokeswoman for Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said Thursday. Inhofe chairs the Senate Environment and Public Committee and was a main architect of the Flint deal. Baum declined to identify senators who were objecting to the bill, but said Inhofe and other senators were "genuinely trying to work through their concerns."

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairwoman of the Senate Energy Committee, said she was optimistic lawmakers could resolve the dispute and take up both the Flint bill and a larger energy package it is tied to next week.

Cruz spokesman Phil Novack said staffers were "simply reviewing the bill right now," noting that the Flint proposal only emerged on Wednesday.

Novack declined to specify the nature of Cruz's concern, but many Republican senators have said it's too early to provide funds for Flint without specific plans from state and local officials. Some Republicans also question whether Flint is analogous to natural disasters such floods or hurricanes, since the crisis was the result of a political decision.

Flint's drinking water became tainted when the city switched from the Detroit water system and began drawing from the Flint River in 2014 to save money. The impoverished city was under state control at the time.

Regulators failed to ensure the water was treated properly and lead from aging pipes leached into the water supply.

Elevated levels of lead have been found in some children's blood. Lead contamination has been linked to learning disabilities and other problems.

The impasse over an aid package for Flint has blocked a bipartisan energy bill that had been moving forward in the Senate. Under the tentative agreement, the Senate would vote on the energy bill before taking up the Flint legislation as a separate bill.

Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., said the Flint proposal provides $100 million for subsidized loans and grants to any state that declares an emergency due to a public health threat from lead or other contaminants in its public drinking water supply.

"Certainly Flint is an extreme example right now, but there are problem all other country" with lead in pipes, Peters said. "We've got a widespread national problem and there should be resources to help every state in the union."

Peters and other supporters said the deal would use federal credit subsidies to provide incentives for up to $700 million in loan guarantees and other financing for water infrastructure projects nationwide.

Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, the nation's largest environmental organization, said "Ted Cruz only cares about one thing -- and that's Ted Cruz. It's clear that he'll do anything to promote his own political aspirations without any regard for what's right for Flint and communities like Flint across the country."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Man convicted of criminal harassment in Creep Catcher case gets probation, fine

    Canada News CTV News
    RED DEER, Alta. - An Alberta man convicted of criminal harassment for his involvement in a Creep Catchers sting has been fined $1,500 and must spend a year on probation. Carl Young, 38, also known as Karl Murphy, was convicted last month for his involvement in an incident where he lured a man to a meeting on Nov. Source
  • Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors after weeks-long stalemate

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- Police appear to be cracking down on pop-up stalls selling marijuana while frustrations mount over the open-air market operating in a prominent square in downtown Vancouver. A spokesman for the Vancouver Police Department declined comment on what he called an ongoing investigation, but vendors said Monday that officers raided merchants' tables in Robson Square the night before and arrested several sellers. Source
  • Ontario man races to break 24-hour go-kart Guinness World Record

    Canada News CTV News
    A Brampton, Ont. man is attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a go-kart over 24 hours. The punishing endurance race is Matthew Hayley’s way of putting family tragedy and personal depression in the rearview mirror. Source
  • Innocent teen killed amid 'uptick in gang violence': Vancouver police chief

    Canada News CTV News
    An innocent teen who was killed by gunfire while in a car with his parents was the victim of surging gang violence, Vancouver’s police chief told reporters on Monday. “We haven’t seen gang violence like this in probably the last 10 years,” Chief Constable Adam Palmer said at a press conference. Source
  • TSB investigating after plane's wheel goes off runway at Toronto airport

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- The Transportation Safety Board is investigating after a wheel of a plane went off a runway at Toronto's Pearson International Airport on Sunday evening. A spokeswoman for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority says the Air Georgian flight became temporarily disabled on the taxiway after an aborted takeoff. Source
  • Liberal MP says abortion clause in summer jobs program 'not right'

    Canada News CBC News
    Newfoundland MP Scott Simms says he is petitioning his own government to reverse a clause in a student summer jobs program that requires groups applying for grants to attest to abortion rights.Churches upset by new abortion clause in jobs programScheer accuses Trudeau of 'imposing' values on abortion with summer jobs grantsThe Liberal MP said its unfair that churches and Christian groups are being asked to violate their fundamental beliefs in order to receive funding for jobs and programs that…
  • Feds move to replace U.S. border barriers in New Mexico

    World News CTV News
    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The Trump administration announced Monday it was preparing to replace existing vehicle barriers along a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border in New Mexico that officials call "an area of high illegal entry. Source
  • Woman, called inspiration for Rosie the Riveter, dies at 96

    World News CTV News
    LONGVIEW, Wash. - A woman identified by a scholar as the inspiration for Rosie the Riveter, the iconic female World War II factory worker, has died in Washington state. The New York Times reports that Naomi Parker Fraley died Saturday in Longview. Source
  • Aw shucks!: Silo collapse sends about 9,000 tons of corn onto road

    World News CTV News
    NEW CARLISLE, Ohio -- A silo collapse has sent about 9,070 metric tons of corn onto an Ohio road, shutting it down for days. WHIO-TV reports emergency crews first responded to calls of an explosion at the Miami Valley Feed & Grain Co. Source
  • Alberta Creep Catcher gets fine, probation for 'repugnant and malicious' crime

    Canada News CBC News
    An Alberta man who was convicted of criminal harassment for his participation in the vigilante group Creep Catchers has been fined and sentenced to probation by a judge in Red Deer, Alta. Carl Young, also known as Karl Murphy, impersonated a 15-year-old boy with the intent to confront the victim, a man he ultimately met up with in Lacombe on Nov. Source