Finger pointing continues as energy bill moves forward without w - WNEM TV 5

Finger pointing continues as energy bill moves forward without water crisis funding

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

An energy bill tied up in the U.S. Senate is finally moving forward, but it's doing so without providing any money to the Flint water crisis.

That bill originally earmarked $250 million that Flint and other cities dealing with water issues could have used.

But U.S. Sen. Mike Lee from Utah put a block on that funding, and is holding firm, despite pleas from local lawmakers and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.

It's been a long two years for the city. Mayor Karen Weaver said they'll need not only federal support, but also funds from the state which she feels may be a contributing factor to Lee's apprehension.

"And I’m not sure if that's part of the hold up, if they're waiting on the state to release some funds for us, and then they'll step up," Weaver said. "But while this finger pointing goes on, our needs are still unattended."

Lee responded and said: "I engaged in a very lengthy negotiation with Sens. [Debbie] Stabenow and [Gary] Peters, including offering them no fewer than three proposals to try to offset the funding, but those proposals have yet to be accepted."

Peters and Stabenow have both responded to Lee’s claim.

Peters said, "I am extremely disappointed that despite weeks of negotiations, Senator Lee has refused to allow a vote on our bipartisan legislation that is fully paid for and would help not just Flint, but communities across America that are facing aging water infrastructure...  We will continue to seek a path forward for our legislation to help the people of Flint, who are still living without clean, safe water."

Just within the last hour, Stabenow’s office sent a statement to TV5.

"Throughout this process, Senator Lee kept changing his proposals and it became very clear he had no intention to help the families of Flint. If he cared about our families, he would have supported our bipartisan proposal that cut government spending in order to pay for assistance to Flint and other communities across the nation."

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