Merkley Decries Republican Blockade of Aid to Flint, Lack of Investment in Crumbling Water Infrastructure

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement as Senate Republicans continued to block proposed aid to Flint, Michigan, where families are facing lead-poisoned tap water:

“It’s unacceptable that Senate Republicans are leaving town without agreeing to a path forward for the water crisis in Flint. While the Senate is out of session next week, the families of Flint will continue to bathe their children in bottled water and fear the poisoned water that is coming out of their pipes. This is an emergency situation, and it demands emergency aid without delay.

“We also need to face up to the fact that thousands of other cities across America could face similar crises if we don’t get serious about repairing and replacing our crumbling water infrastructure. Despite the fact that communities in every state are vulnerable to these kinds of disasters with aging water systems, Congress has not yet acted to give communities affordable options to make the infrastructure investments needed to keep our families safe. Instead, Congress has flatlined investment in the main funding tool for water infrastructure projects, State Revolving Funds, and has failed to fund the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) that was passed in 2013. Investing now in reliable funding and low-cost loans to repair our crumbling water infrastructure will create jobs immediately and pay huge dividends over the long term by averting future health crises like the horrific situation Flint faces today.”