Senate Approves Funding for Flint Water Crisis

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday approved legislation to spend $270 million to aid the residents of Flint, Mich., and other poor communities that have suffered from lead-contaminated water, attaching the funds to a broader bill authorizing $9 billion to repair ports, dams, levees and other water infrastructure in 17 states. The measure, the Water Resources Development Act, includes no immediate funding for that water infrastructure; rather, it maps out projects that would be eligible for future federal spending from Congress’s appropriations committees. Lawmakers have used past water resources bills to brag to their constituents about projects that may never get funded. However, the Flint spending, if it also passes the House, would take effect immediately. Michigan’s Democratic senators, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, spent months pushing for money to help their state recover from the water crisis. Its addition to the water resources bill came after the senators sought unsuccessfully to attach it to other pieces of legislation, and to move it as a stand-alone bill.

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