The situation in Flint, Michigan does not seem to be getting any better as the crisis has recently increased partisan tensions within both the US Senate and House of Representatives, this week. Members of a collective oversight committee are now laying into both federal and state officials in regards to which actions continue to contribute to the problem.
Of course, the situation is now quite dire as Flint residents are largely concerned that the very water the community needs for drinking, cooking, and cleaning could poison its children. And this debate has helped to shut down the movement of the area’s first energy bill in more than ten years.
Obviously, the partisan split is over which methods the US government should pursue to remedy the situation. Democrats have proposed, for example, $600 million in aid to be distributed to Michigan to help move its new energy bill forward. Naturally, Republicans argue against this proposal.
“I don’t care whether it’s the E.P.A., whether it’s local, whether it’s the state,” explains US Representative Elijah Cummings, who is the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. During a rare bipartisan questioning in regards to this erosion of public health, he goes on to say, “I want everybody who’s responsible for this fiasco to be held accountable.”
Of course, that is far easier said than done and Democrats have warned that the energy bill will not pass without this additional $600 in aid, despite the fact that the bill is very near to its final vote. According to Illinois Democrat Senator Richard J. Durbin, the party is united on this subject. He says, “We’re going to stop this bill if they don’t help Flint.”
On the other hand, Republican Senator John Cornyn, of Texas, says he could never support this. He argues “Flint doesn’t have anything to do with the energy bill.”
But while Congress can’t seem to make up its mind over what to about the problem, more than 300 local union plumbers took to Flint homes to install free water filters to residents over the past weekend. Unfortunately, not all faucets in the town can fit the water filters and some faucets are simply too old or oddly shaped, which is yet more proof that the city [government] needs to do more to help remedy the situation.