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Congressman Dan Kildee Leads Letter from 137 House Democrats asking Speaker Ryan to Act on Flint Before House Adjourns

July 13, 2016
Press Release

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) today sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan (WI-01) calling on him to act immediately to address the ongoing public health crisis in Flint, Mich. before Congress adjourns for a seven week recess. The letter, signed by 137 Members of Congress, comes as the city of Flint remains under a Federal State of Emergency and seeks critical funding to assist the community in responding and recovering from the man-made health crisis. “We request that the U.S. House of Representatives immediately do its job and act to address the ongoing public health crisis in Flint, Mich. The people of Flint continue to lack access to safe drinking water and need emergency funding to respond and recover to this health emergency affecting 100,000 Americans.” Congressman Kildee and his colleagues continued. “While nothing can be done to reverse lead’s effects on the body, Congress can act to provide resources to Flint and minimize lead’s impact on the victims. Each day that passes that we fail to take action is a day that the children of Flint cannot get back.” Congressman Kildee urged Speaker Ryan to bring up H.R. 4479, The Families of Flint Act, which has the support of 172 Members of Congress. Introduced by Congressman Kildee on February 9, 2016, H.R. 4479 would provide the emergency and long term resources needed for Flint while sharing responsibility with the state of Michigan. Congressman Kildee’s legislation, which requires state-matching funds, would address four key areas:

  • Infrastructure Repairs: including making much-needed investments to replace lead-service lines;
  • Wrap-Around Services for Families and Children Exposed to Lead: including expanded access to health care, early childhood education, afterschool, college accessibility, juvenile deterrence and literacy programs. Congressman Kildee’s legislation would also make critical investments in Flint schools, including establishing school-based health centers and making infrastructure repairs to school buildings;
  • Economic Development: including economic development assistance programs for businesses in the city of Flint and expanded youth employment opportunities;
  • Health Monitoring: including establishing a Center of Excellence on Lead Exposure in Flint to monitor long-term health effects and provide research on the best ways to mitigate lead exposure.

Congressman Kildee has repeatedly called on both chambers of Congress, including the House, to take up a Flint aid bill. A U.S. Senate aid bill focusing on improving Flint’s water infrastructure, introduced by Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, also awaits a full vote in the Senate. The letter in its entirety is below: Speaker Ryan: We request that the U.S. House of Representatives immediately do its job and act to address the ongoing public health crisis in Flint, Mich. The people of Flint continue to lack access to safe drinking water and need emergency funding to respond and recover to this health emergency affecting 100,000 Americans. In recent months, this Congress has brought forth legislation regarding other crises including the Puerto Rican debt crisis, the Zika virus and the opioid addiction epidemic, but has failed to bring up legislation to send resources to Flint to deal with the water crisis. The impacts of lead, a dangerous neurotoxin, are permanent and life-long. While nothing can be done to reverse lead’s effects on the body, Congress can act to provide resources to Flint and minimize lead’s impact on the victims. Each day that passes that we fail to take action is a day that the children of Flint cannot get back. Since President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency for the city of Flint in January, the Administration has used existing authorities to respond to the crisis. The current authorities and funding, however, are not enough to fully address the crisis. The Families of Flint Act, H.R. 4479, has the support of 172 Members of Congress and would provide federal funding to help Flint recover from this man-made crisis. All of the funding in the Families of Flint Act must be matched by the state of Michigan; the state bears the majority of the responsibility for fixing the crisis that it caused. The federal government must also step up to provide the necessary help. The Families of Flint Act would provide the emergency and long term resources needed for Flint while sharing responsibility. The House of Representatives must act immediately to provide the necessary help to Flint and respond to the water crisis as it has in the past for other Americans in crisis.

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