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Flint water deal averts government shutdown

(GRAYDC)
Published: Sep. 28, 2016 at 9:52 PM EDT
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Lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Wednesday came to a compromise to prevent an election season government shutdown, approving a short-term funding bill.

This comes after Senate Democrats blocked the bill on Tuesday because it did not include money to address Flint, Michigan's water crisis. Congressional leaders struck a deal to fix the broken water system in Flint, including it in an amendment to legislation that would fund water infrastructure projects.

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) says the Water Resources Development Act (WADA) was the appropriate place to address the crisis in Flint, instead of tacking it onto a short-term funding bill like some Democrats wanted.

“This is an area that we covered in the Water Resource Development Act, It was included in that bill," Sen. Ernst explained. "This is a matter that we had already taken care of earlier this year."

Aid for the city of about 100,000 people north of Detroit became a main point of conflict in recent days. Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA) says he feels comfortable that the deal will pass when Congress returns in November.

“Right now the Republicans have given their word that Flint will get the money and we'll get the funding," Loebsack said. "They had better not go back on their word because in this business you're as good as your word."

The Senate passed a short-term funding agreement on Wednesday without any aid for Flint. Still, the temporary fix will fund the federal government only until December 9.

“So, Flint is addressed in another legislative vehicle and the continuing resolution now will include Zika funding and then basically funding for the Opioid crisis," Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said.

The House Water Resource bill passed on Wednesday night, allocating $170 million in aid to Flint. The Senate version of the bill allocated $220 million in aid. Those details will have to be ironed out when Congress returns after the election.

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