House Reaches Deal On $170MM Aid To Flint To Avoid Government Shutdown

Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan have seemingly reached a deal to keep the federal government running for another 3 months.  A deal was originally delayed over a dispute on funding for the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, Zika funding for Florida and aid to flood victims in Louisiana.  The agreement struck between Ryan and Pelosi ultimately will provide $170 million to help Flint and other cities with water emergencies which would be added as an amendment to a separate water projects bill.

According to The Hill, the agreement comes after Senate Democrats and a handful of Republicans blocked a stop-gap spending bill to fund the government past Sept. 30.  Democrats vowed to block the stopgap funding bill Tuesday afternoon, after a House version of the bill included aid to Florida to fight the Zika virus and aid to help Louisiana flood victims but did not provide funding for the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.  

Per NBC, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) vowed to fight any legislation that excluded funding for Flint.

"Democrats have been clear that Congress should not leave Flint and other lead-tainted communities out of any (stopgap spending) negotiation that includes emergency disaster funding.  Our request is simple: include both bipartisan disaster relief packages for consideration in the CR. We urge you to include bipartisan Flint legislation in the CR."

Paul Ryan

The Senate originally passed a version of the waterways bill that included a $220 million Flint aid package, but the House version lacked the same drinking water provisions. That said, the House Rules Committee agreed late Tuesday night to allow a floor vote on a bipartisan amendment from Reps. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) and John Moolenar (R-Mich.) that would authorize up to $170 million for communities around the country that are facing a drinking water crisis. 

The deal between the House leaders promises to free up the short-term spending measure, which had failed to advance in the Senate on Tuesday. That had left lawmakers facing responsibility for a government shutdown at midnight Friday, if they did not act.

Of course, with the presidential election just a couple of months away it's not terribly surprising that this issue was cleared up with relative ease.