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Congressional Democrats: Charges should put more pressure on state to fix Flint water

Apr 20, 2016

Members of Michigan’s congressional delegation see today’s criminal charges as just a step in the right direction.

Workers unload a flat of bottled water at a distribution site on north Dort Highway in Flint
Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

On a conference call with reporters, U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, welcomed the filing of criminal charges against two state regulators and a Flint city employee in the Flint water crisis.

“But it would be incomplete if that justice did not also include those who did this to Flint … meaning the state government,” says Kildee.

Kildee and Michigan’s two U.S. senators say the state government has a responsibility to do more to fix Flint’s lead-tainted water supply. 

“Given the fact that there are now some criminal charges to me makes it even more imperative that the state of Michigan step up and do what’s necessary to help the people of Flint,” says U.S Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich.

The state has already spent roughly $70 million on the crisis. The Snyder administration has also committed to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for a program encouraging Flint residents to flush their pipes next month.   

But U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, along with Rep. Kildee, say state government should commit more resources to fix Flint’s lead tainted drinking water. 

They would like to see state lawmakers dip deep into the state’s budget surplus and rainy day fund to pay for lead service line replacement and health programs in Flint. 

Legislative leaders say further appropriations for the Flint water crisis will come through the normal budget process. 

State House Speaker Kevin Cotter has criticized Congressional Democrats for failing to get more federal funding to address the crisis.