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tv   Senate Democrats on Flint Michigan Water Contamination  CSPAN  January 28, 2016 10:46pm-11:24pm EST

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today michigan's two senators debbie stabenow and gary held a news conference to talk about flint michigan's contaminated drink it when her proposal forces us to clean up the city's water supply. their legislation would provide four and a billion dollars in
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federal matching funds to repair damaged pipes that have contributed to lead contamination. this is a half-hour. >> good afternoon. let me start by saying after last night being in london talking to people after the town hall meeting i just want to emphasize how resilient the people of flint are. they are proud. they love their community and their families. they just need our help. we all know that this was literally a man-made crisis and it says much of the catastrophe
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is any other kind of crisis and very personal when in fact you are trying to get drinking water or cook or bait in the water looks like that. the problem is in many places it still looks like that. it has been months and months and yesterday folks couldn't shower. last night someone said we can't shower with bottled water and that is true. you can't create a healthy environment for your children. people in flint need the respect that they deserve for knowing that rainwater coming out of the faucet will not involve actions that need to happen. again we know where this falls in terms of responsibility and decisions made but that does not take away from the fact that people of flint are counting on
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everybody to do what we can. we thank the president for his action and we know we are proposing an energy bill in front of us in a four-part amendment and senator will speak and i will put a want to thank senator schumer and senator reid. we have 100% supportive people saying what can they do to help? when we put together this amendment we have technical expertise from every part of our caucus in terms of ranking members, committees as well as they white house and we are grateful for the response and helping us. let me go through the first two parts. the bottom line is these types have got to be fixed or replaced. the governor asked in a letter to the president that there be
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an emergency probation, emergency designation that would allow $800 million that he believes are needed to fix this to be provided. we are proposing that we come up with basically half the dollars and matched dollar for dollar an emergency preparation of up to $400 billion that would match dollar for dollar and this be done as quick as possible. the second thing is that we know there is long-term damage. it is so heartbreaking to talk to moms and dads and kids that are so afraid of what is going to happen. there are 9000 children under the age of six who may be exposed. we don't know yet in terms of lead. 9000 children under the age of six and a city of 100,000
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people. we know from the people that we trust and courageous pediatrician that determine what was happening even though they attacked her for her results she's the one that did the original lead testing and she and community experts are wanting us to support a center for excellence for lead exposure that would allow both the monitoring of what happens to children coordinating services around nutrition health care education providing a public forum for information and quite frankly providing long-term research because we haven't seen this kind of level of exposure before. there are a lot of questions about the impact and heaven help us if there is ever an emergency like this again. the people of flint want to be able to help those in the future
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through research and information gathering about what's happening in the best ways to handle it. so we are proposing a $21 million center of excellence on lead exposure. those two items coupled with the two that senator will talk about are an appropriate response from us government. we hope that we will have colleagues. i have talked to senator murkowski and the pursuit of buffer interests. we need to get this done. the people of flint have waited way too long. senator. >> thank you senator stabenow and thank you for your leadership in your work on this and i want to thank all of my colleagues that are here senator schumer in the leadership of the caucus as well as my colleagues who were here in support that we are all united in understanding that this is an issue that when
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you hd was and is senator stabenow mentioned it is one in which there's a sense of urgency that it has to be done quickly. unfortunately this crisis has gone too far. the state was aware of issues for far too many months before action was taken in before i talk about your provisions of the amendment that we will be offering a want to reiterate it's very clear that this is a state of michigan problem. the government of the state of michigan created this catastrophe. they have had a state appointed emergency manager who is looking to save some money by going to the flint river as a source of water moving away from lake huron and the great lakes to go to the flint river, a highly corrosive river pitt impact general motors used a water from the flint river for then decided they didn't want to use it anymore because it was corroding the engine block through the manufacturing process. this water wasn't good enough for the manufacturing process because of its corrosive nature
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and yet the state appointed emergency manager uses water as drinking water for the residents and the same time did not put in the chemicals necessary to deal with that highly corrosive water which then started eating away at the pipes, manyfold but pipes as a result of an old committee. ultimately the six is multifaceted. we have to look at the health of people of flint and we have to look at education particularly the children that have been impacted and may also have to look at infrastructure. senator stabenow talking about the funds which will be matching state money will be critical. we know we want to replace that infrastructure. the state responsibility first and foremost. the federal government will help in order to supplement to a large amount of the state of michigan needs to step up. along those lines the third element of the amendment that we will be introducing in the energy bill deals with helping
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flint payoff interest as well as have some of their state drinking water revolving funds and bonds being forgiven. actually this is a fairly technical fix. right now revolving funds can be forgiven. these were funds that were actually loaned to the city of flint over many years but because of the way the laws written out they can't have those loans forgiven. when you think about it doesn't make any sense for the city of flint who is struggling right now to have to be paying for a water system that the state of michigan basically broke? why would this the city of flint be obligated to be paying for the water system that has been corroded away because of this highly corrosive water? we are asking that those loans can be forgiven. they should be able to do that in the three of its roughly million dollars in loans it will be forgiven. out money would be made
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available for the city of flint to invest in new infrastructure that will provide clean water. the fourth aspect of the bill is a fixup build a senator stabenow introduced yesterday. congressman dan childers will be introducing it in the house next week prayed that deals with notification, epa notification. the thing that is very troubling is that as the state of michigan was conducting these tests and in fact we believe they were cooking some of books on the test, not really putting out information as to what they were seeing in those tests, the epa became a player of some of those tests. they became aware of the fact that they were not putting the proper chemicals into the water to find the medals in the pipes. they insisted that the state of michigan do that. they repeatedly said that unfortunately the state did not take that action could unfortunately the epa did not believe that they had the authority to actually go public
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with it. the law says you have to work with the state because the state has the primary responsibility to provide clean drinking water to the people. they believed there was ambiguity in the law that prevented them from going public even though they saw some of these test results. that's simply unacceptable. we cannot allow that to happen so we will clarify the law that says that the epa does find out or believes there is information that the public needs to know there needs to be additional accountability and if the state or local agency does not see the information to epa must do it within 15 days after receiving that information. there won't be ambiguity. this is about full transparency. people have a right to know and we are going to clarify that in this amendment. before i turn it over to senator schumer i want to highlight that this amendment is one aspect of variety of things working at the federal level. one aspect that is important is dealing with the thousands of children that senator stabenow
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mentioned to me now the effects of lead at a young age in pete's brain development. rapper and education services will be in port and one federal program is absolute critical as head start. head start helps children prior to them going to school. right now of the 6000 eligible children and flint only 1000 are in head start appealing to get every single child in the head start and we are getting to work on putting that together aspect and we are pleased the governor took up the recommendation of senator stabenow and myself and congressman kildee was to as the sba for emergency disaster loans. we have a situation with small businesses and flint that have been directly impacted as a result of this particularly restaurants. folks don't necessarily want to go to arrest him without asking questions was sort of put options to take? is having a devastating impact on local businesses and every fabric of the communities being
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impacted as a result of this. so it's going to take a comprehensive approach. this amendment is critical. without fixing the infrastructure we are not going to have a long-term fix. this is not a partisan issue. this not at democratic or a republican issue but this is about the people of flint and specifically the children of flint who are crying for help need help and we have the ability to do it. we need to step up and be the tour to hopefully having strong bipartisan support in with that i will turn it over to senator schumer. >> thank you and let me first and i think i would be joined by all the people of flint and of michigan and thinking senator stabenow and peters for their amazing leadership. they have been out front on this issue from the beginning importuning every level government to get this crisis at hand and undone. they have done a great job.
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the people of flint and the people of michigan are lucky to have senator stabenow peters fighting on their behalf. let's make no mistake about this. what we are seeing in flint michigan is a man-made crisis plain and simple. the states appointed emergency manager made the decision to take water from the plant river from old and decrepit -- they managed to save a filled -- few billion but at what cost? now hundreds of thousands of people in of people and flint don't have drinkable water. they can't use the water from the pipes that are corroded. .. untry on the other side of the
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the globe, in the united states. that is disgraceful. the whole country needs to be and together along with the state of michigan to solve this humanitarian crisis as quickly as possible. this as possible. this amendment is immediate, the need is immediate, and putting it on the energy bill is timely and appropriate >>et b >> joining us in this issue. the amendment provides the largehat resources that the same time to hold michigan accountable.lar with the dollar for dollar match but michigan has to step up to the plate given the state's role in thepoi crisis.
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as the senator said last night confidence and trust in state officials and the federal government needs to step in to get a handle on the crisis. we're begging and pleading with ourur colleagues to help solve this in a bipartisan way. the four pieces of the legislation and to show accountability and transparency. and we need an active ne government to help people who may need help.o there is no substitute for private sector to help. we know that. that is why this legislation is appropriate lacking clean drinkable water nothing should get in the way. not partisan politics and weul should pass the amendment quickly to get the relief in
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the clean water flowing. senator?nt t >> i'll let you think the senators but this issue when it comes to the children of flint or the children ofg o america with lead poisoning with elevated lead levels, i believe that hundreds of years ago to say a great band of robbers.ome so today when that comes to whe government when you don't take action to prevent this from happening to have robbed a child of their future but also basic
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justice. every child the matter where they live should have a right to expect clean water is not asking too much of their government. tha it causes a lot of us to examine what is happening in our own state.ur o from communities in pennsylvania by good reporting and data.a so here is one number to consider which is a nationwide number.vel 4 million households have children living in them that they're being exposed to high levels of lead. so we have a lot of work to do. maybe not without water
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problem are living inone communities with lead paint but that number has gone down. back in the mid-70s it was much higher the micro date -- micrograms per deciliter.e so we know it is good policy with a determined effort toa bring the number is way down at 1.2 was a good number that sullivan county withthe 3.two or higher is not good enough. whether lead in the soil or the household secondk f horrific nightmare of flint. this is a wake-up call with the broader issue in addition to doing everything
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we can for people of michigan in ann flynn to increasehat stand ready to douse that.nst >> with the battle of lead poisoning, i want to show my solidarity with them and the people of flint. the point caseinate is the point i will make you cover washington see the samee thing that we see. to degrade environmental protections.ceiv
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and then where they have such play with the receiving end of a derided protectional capability for american families. they are not big shots they don't have the vote they have are the right to drink water that doesn't poison them or damage brain development. this is not only a message of o solidarity to flint and michigander rethink theatu antagonism to environmental protection that is the feature of this building to remember not just the children of flint but as a signal we have to stand firm and protect the planet that we love. >> also thank you to the
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other senators who are here as well. it is heartwarming to see mitt that the people becames i aware to say how can we help. this is how. we are happy to take questions. kno >> i talked with senator murkowski as there are provisions she is supportive of so we are working on that today. that it makes sense and responding to the emergency. i'm assuming we will be able
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to do that. >> the already admitted to several problems d.c. a pattern you emerge? >> let me just say as a backdrop from a public emergency standpoint we haven't told we have not seen a local or state government responds like flint coming in from the epa to determine lead levels of birth through their roof in ti some cases thousands of times higher beyond we wouldor have for a superfund site or in another disaster. they go to the state what can we do?
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no day attack the scientists then fought with the epa and then when for the doctor came forward as as a b pediatrician they would attack her. but it is also important to see what is happening in washington. to eliminate the epa. with the statedr revolving loan fund to get that back up. so all this is happening. i am not excusing any of it because from our standpoint they should come forward but to make it clear to havere another situation where a state doesn'ty respond but it has 15 days to go public and
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if that iss happening in lic. places. >> in with this racist amendment are you prepared to block the bill from going forward? what we do? >> we have not made that decision.su >> with those separatep pieces with those pieces coming im forward? >> all four are important but we will figure that out. >> because as much as the chilean and a half dollars from the governor's estimaterom
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>> the estimate coming about this all of the pipes were replaced and that may need to have been. the state, the governor sent a letter to the president that asked for about $800 million. that is a good place to start the. >> is important as we mentioned a state responsibility. the state broke it they need to fix it. we will try to help but the 400 million the state mayy have to put in more than that.00, that major vulnerability as an older community with lead pipes and highly corrosive
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water without chemicals to neutralize that it destroyed many of those service lines that have to be replaced. we believe 800 billion wouldin coverli that but some of the other main lines we have to deal with. this would be sufficient at this point.at and then we need to look at bill whole system.on,r in this state drinking water revolving fund. to t >> hosting a conference call the congressmen said you havef to wonder and then they focused but d.c. race
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playing a component? >> i don't wonder at although doubt in my mind if one of the supporters and a wealthy part of michigan said our water looks like this and it smells. the children are taking ar baths in getting rashes and people are using here. help us. a it i don't think it would be very long and all before it was fixed. >> to me is a different form of government.orm the unelected emergency manager different than the elected official.nagefic this data points the manager and to reduce costs at all costs would ever you have got to do. with an emergency manager not heldger w accountable if you have thetiz elected mayor that m
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with this into the citizens they did not have power it was all unelected emergency management.g timp the people in the state of michigan voted against thectu emergency manager form ofs government with this a referendum. it was eliminated that they would go back to tweak a lot to put it in again circumventing the will of the voters looking at thehe bottom line. vtto one not as the welfare ofty, the community this is whatone you get. >> $100 a day. according to one of the other here -- heroes here.s w $100 a day this would not
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have happened. >> it has to be accountability. with a number of differenting devastations but to help the families of flint now. that will be sorted out if the water looks like this or anything close to it we haveeck a public trust emergency and all hands on deck one. >> earlier this month with detroit? >> the president acted the immediately even theked governor finally asked for the emergency declaration. within days to set dollars to michigan and that would have ye come later and in
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talking to him yesterday to do everything that they can to help. we are on the ground and is and terrific and has been meeting with thecan community to make recommendations on what can be done and in terms of the federal response. right now the president has done more than the governor. i am not worried about that. >> wife follow the matching fund f approach with thes distrust of the state government to says they will wil authorize expenditures to match? >> i hope he will call the senate republican leader and the speaker to indicate this needs to be done.he l
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just to announce themil $600 billion or a newew surplus. they have the resources if they have the will. for the families of flint this is as much of the national crisis as a hurricane or a tornado. to match the state's actionsder but not replace the state's actions. toth unfortunately they have not matched that to believe that is significantly less than f necessary and to come to ask
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for resources from the federal government. in the state of michigan has primary responsibility it is clear to everybody that is why we need his help to help us with our republican colleagues in the senate to get this money. i don't want this to become a republican or democratic issue. it is about children in do public emergency with decor issue that in this great country he should have clean drinking water. to have a republican governor. >>
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> the weekend prior to the caucuses there will be a princely so many candidates on the republican side and the democratic side and each will have even less a day maybe six or seven that give you a sense of what it is like to campaign for the caucuses. vicki is organization. , for those that support you get to the caucus. it is interesting how they
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try to close the deal with their message for those who were on defense -- on the fence he will see wall-to-wall coverage as they make their final pitch. >> main engine start. left off. liftoff of the space shuttle mission that has cleared the tower.
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>> today is a day for mourning and remembering. nancy and i are painted to the court with the challenger and we share this with the people love our country it is truly a national loss. ha.
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>> / interesting looking records over the years than the tastes are eclectic and reflect the taste of the president than the times that one movie there was one that resonated in can you guess?

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