Congress Avoids Government Shutdown by Striking Deal to Aid Flint, Mich.

The Flint River flows in the city’s downtown Jan. 17, 2016.
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Congress appears to have avoided an Oct. 1 government shutdown by agreeing to a House vote Wednesday on federal aid for the water crisis in Flint, Mich.

The Washington Post reports that senators voted 72-15 to pass the spending bill, which funds the federal government through Dec. 9, and the House is expected to vote on it late Wednesday night.


The bill also provides $1.1 billion to address the Zika virus, $500 million in emergency flood relief to Louisiana and other states, and $37 million for opioid addiction.

Earlier this week, MLive reports, Democrats said that they would not support the spending bill unless Flint got federal funds that were already approved by the U.S. Senate. Democrats were willing to block the spending bill and allow the government to shut down at midnight Friday, Sept. 30.

"The continuing resolution that has been put forward by Sen. Mitch McConnell [R-Ky.] fails the people of Flint, Michigan," said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). "Republicans put funds in the [continuing resolution] for people in some states hit by natural disaster, but they did nothing for the families of Flint who have been suffering for over two years from a man-made disaster. That is unacceptable."

Late Tuesday, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) struck a deal to add $170 million in aid for Flint in a separate water-projects bill. That amendment passed the House Wednesday evening. The differences between the House and Senate bills will now be addressed in a conference committee.


Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), a Flint native who co-authored the House amendment with Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.), said that the agreement would “create a concrete commitment from both bodies of Congress to get aid to my hometown, for my hometown, to the president’s desk.”

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder told members of the media that he encourages the federal government to move forward and get aid for Flint done.


"I publicly want to be a strong supporter of getting action to happen in Congress to make that occur as quickly as possible," Snyder said.

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