A proposition that would supply the residents of Flint – who continue to be subjected to drinking water with dangerously elevated levels of lead – was repeatedly blocked by Senator and Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz before he finally relented late Thursday evening.
As first reported by Bloomberg, Chuck Schumer told the press that the only reason the aid has not been approved by the Senate is that Ted Cruz has placed a hold on the deal. Aides to the Texas senator confirmed that he was holding up the legislation because he wasn’t ready to vote on the package at the moment.
Thankfully, late Thursday night and immediately before the GOP presidential debate, Cruz changed course and stopped the block. “Cruz has reviewed the bill now and will not prevent it from moving forward,” says spokesperson Phil Novack.
Not only is the bill critically necessary towards attempting to mitigate the ongoing exposure to lead that the families of Flint are facing on a daily basis, the bill additionally represented a rare moment of bipartisanship in a historically obstructionist congress.
Lead by Michigan Democrats Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters and supported by a majority of Republicans, the package includes $70 million in credit subsidies for water infrastructure projects that could be used to replace corroded pipes continuing to leech lead into the drinking water. Additionally, it includes $100 million in subsidized loans and grants to assist states with tainted water and $50 million towards related public health programs.
The abhorrence of Cruz holding up a bill while every day a bankrupt city continues to subject its citizens to poison was first made aware after Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), told reporters Thursday that Senate Democrats were ready to vote on the on the funding package but a Republican was obstructing progress.
“It’s a presidential candidate,” Schumer said. “I’m not to name names.”