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Cummings, Lawrence, and Kildee Issue Statements on Anniversary of Flint Water Crisis

Apr 25, 2018
Press Release

Cummings, Lawrence, and Kildee Issue Statements on

Anniversary of Flint Water Crisis

 

Washington, D.C. (Apr. 25, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Committee Member Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), and Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) issued the following statements on this week’s four-year anniversary of the Flint water crisis:

Ranking Member Cummings:  “This anniversary of the poisoning of Flint’s water is a bitter milestone.  On one hand, it is a solemn testament to the resilience and resolve of the good people of Flint, who were unnecessarily subjected to deadly abuse in the service of a flawed Republican governing theory that sacrifices public health at the altar of ‘austerity.’  On the other hand, it is a daily reminder of Governor Snyder’s ongoing lack of accountability—and the Republicans in Congress who shut down our investigation in order to protect him.  The people of Flint are still recovering from a disaster they did not cause, and some will live with the impacts for the rest of their lives.  For them, every sip of water remains tainted with the distrust of broken promises.”

Rep. Brenda Lawrence:  “We must do all we can to support the victims in Flint.  Congress allocated $170 million in federal aid for Flint families, and I pledge to continue to fight for the needs of the people of Flint.  I am calling for a hearing from the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, of which I am a member, for a thorough update on the allocation and outcome of the of the federal aid package.  We must ensure that the needs of the people of Flint, with all its complexities are fully recognized and addressed.  I am especially concerned with the long-term care needed for the children of Flint who are victims of dangerous lead poisoning.  We must keep our commitment to these vulnerable children and to this community.  This tragedy should never have happened in Flint, and it should never happen anywhere in America ever again.  We must remain vigilant to protect America’s infrastructure and public health.  We must hold our government responsible and accountable to their solemn duty of serving the America people.  I am calling for a thorough hearing to make certain that we learn the lessons needed to prevent a crisis like this from happening again.”

Rep. Dan Kildee:  “Four years later, it is important to remember that the Flint water crisis is far from over.  While I am proud that Congress passed a $170 million Flint aid package to help remove lead pipes and expand health care for families exposed to high levels of lead, more must be done to ensure that Flint recovers from this man-made crisis.  Four years later, Flint families still do not trust the water coming out of their taps because of a complete lack of faith in their state government that created this crisis.  What happened in Flint is not an anomaly—rather, Flint is a warning to other communities across the country.  We must get serious about improving America’s water infrastructure and making significant investments in communities like Flint so a similar crisis does not happen elsewhere.”

In December 2016, then-Chairman Jason Chaffetz unilaterally rushed to shut down the Oversight Committee’s investigation—without any consultation with other Members of the Committee—after Snyder refused to produce documents requested by the Committee on a bipartisan basis.

Chaffetz subsequently rejected requests by Democrats to re-open the investigation even as criminal charges were filed by state law enforcement officials against individuals who testified before the Committee.

When Rep. Trey Gowdy became Chairman, Democrats sent a letter requesting that he issue a subpoena for the documents being withheld by Snyder or allow Committee Members to debate and vote on a motion to issue the subpoena.  He rejected both requests.

During a Committee business meeting on November 2, 2017, Democrats moved to issue the subpoena, but Republicans blocked all debate on the motion.

The Committee’s probe into Snyder’s knowledge and handling of the crisis as it was unfolding was obstructed by him and his office.  For example:

  •          Snyder refused to provide requested documents in the crucial time period when the state finally warned the public about the threat of Legionnaire’s disease and appropriated millions of dollars to address the crisis.
  •          Snyder refused to provide documents used to prepare for specific meetings with his top staff to discuss the Flint water crisis.
  •          Snyder refused to provide briefing documents on key events, including the announcement that General Motors would stop using Flint River water, concerns expressed by local leaders about poor water quality, the discovery of a Legionella outbreak, and the finding of high lead levels in Flint water.
  •          Snyder turned over very few emails with his top staff.  The Committee learned that Snyder routinely destroyed his emails.  His lawyers claimed that he preserved all relevant records pursuant to civil litigation brought against the state, but Snyder refused to provide the Committee with proof of his preservation efforts, and he refused a request for the Committee to interview the state official responsible for preserving certain records.
Issues: 
115th Congress