What We Know: Congress to consider help for Flint water

AP News
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Posted: Jan 28, 2016 4:50 PM

Senate Democrats in Washington are hoping to send more federal aid to help fix the lead-contaminated water pipes in Flint, Michigan.

A closer look at what's afoot:

—The Democrats proposed an amendment Thursday that would provide up to $400 million in new emergency assistance from the federal government. But Republicans are noncommittal about whether they'll support it, since there aren't offsetting budget cuts elsewhere.

—And there's a catch: The state of Michigan would have to provide a match for each dollar of federal spending.

—The Senate could vote as early as next week on the proposal, as part of a bipartisan Senate energy bill.

—Flint's water became contaminated when the city switched from the Detroit's municipal system and began drawing water from the Flint River in April 2014 to save money. The city was under state control at the time.

— Regulators failed to ensure the water was treated properly and lead from pipes leached into the supply, leading to a spike in child lead exposure. Some children's blood has tested positive for lead, a potent neurotoxin linked to learning disabilities, lower IQ and behavioral problems

— Democrats say Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, and other state officials ignored the problem in the majority black city of 100,000 north of Detroit.

— Snyder has estimated the cost of replacing Flint's water supply infrastructure at $767.4 million, although local officials say it could cost twice as much.