Yesterday, the Senate blocked a procedural motion to bring up a bill that would have continued to fund the government and extend current budget numbers until December. Protesting the lack of emergency funding for Flint, Michigan, but providing emergency funds to Louisiana, the measure failed 45-55. Senate Republicans are arguing that the funding is more appropriate for water infrastructure legislation (WRDA) currently moving through Congress. The Senate passed WRDA bill (S. 2848) included $220 million for Flint and other communities struggling with water infrastructure emergencies.
In the House, GOP leadership is struggling to figure out how to move forward with it’s version of WRDA (H.R. 5303) which does not included funding for Flint. The House has been working through amendments, but it remains unclear whether democrats will push through an amendment to send aid to Michigan.
In any event, the House must pass WRDA and a budgetary measure to fund the government before it adjourns to hit the campaign trail. The latter must also gain 60 votes in the Senate to avoid a government shutdown.
We, at the CWC, don’t believe funding America’s infrastructure should be a bargaining chip. Congress must pass legislation to fund the government, and it should also weigh the significant public health, national security, and economic stimulation benefits of investing in water infrastructure. The budget, and WRDA, should both be passed as soon as possible.