House OKs plan for $170 million to fix Flint water system - WNEM TV 5

House OKs plan for $170 million to fix Flint water system

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The House has approved a plan to provide $170 million to help Flint, Michigan, rebuild its lead-poisoned water system.

Wednesday's 284-141 vote came nearly a year after Michigan officials declared a public health emergency in the city.

The Senate approved $220 million for Flint and other communities with lead contamination two weeks ago. The effort went nowhere in the Republican-run House until Speaker Paul Ryan and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi struck a deal late Tuesday.

Because the Flint money was stalled, Senate Democrats had derailed a must-pass bill to avert a government shutdown this weekend. They relented after Ryan and Pelosi reached their agreement on Flint.

Congress will have to approve separate legislation actually providing the Flint money when it returns after the November elections.

“I think it is wonderful it's an excellent start,” Kapus Brown said.

Brown lives in Flint. He’s among the people working to replace lead tainted pipes in the city. He’s pleased it looks like $170 million will soon be headed to Flint.

He said more money is good, but not nearly enough.

“I would like the government to really take a hard look at the infrastructure and the issues here in Flint, Michigan and get us all the way on track,” Brown said.

The money will go toward fixing two things: the network of pipes and feeder lines beneath the city, and to establish a health care registry for people affected by the lead laced water.

Brown said he and his company will continue to work on the pipes, hoping a long-range solution comes soon.

“Come together a little bit more on all sides of the fence. And try to understand that if we work together, we can get this taken care of,” he said.

Congressman Kildee also said he would like to see the state step up with aid as well, since he said they are the ones responsible for the Flint water crisis.

The following is a statement from Gov. Rick Snyder on the passing of Flint aid:

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today thanked the U.S. House of Representatives for passage of the Water Resources Development Act, which includes millions of dollars for water infrastructure funding for Flint and other cities nationwide.

"The House’s action today moves us one step closer to additional federal funding to help move Flint forward," said Gov. Rick Snyder. "This money would complement the state's ongoing efforts to help the families of Flint recover. I encourage the House and Senate to reach a compromise in conference committee as soon as possible."

The governor has worked extensively with leadership in both chambers of Congress since January to put together a federal aid package that will build on the state’s ongoing response efforts.

The city of Flint has been allocated $27 million to date from state taxpayers to replace lead service lines in the city. This is part of the total of $234 million committed by the state to provide health care services and clean water resources for residents of Flint.

Resources from the House WRDA bill would help with other infrastructure improvements, and includes the authorization of $170 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. The DWSRF would be available for use in states which have an emergency declaration under the Stafford Act related to contaminants in drinking water.

To read more on the stopgap spending bill, click here

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