Skip to main content

tv   U.S. House Legislative Business  CSPAN  February 11, 2016 5:16am-5:57am EST

5:16 am
lled yee a democrat and fred upton a republican introduced the bill. here's that debate. i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. upton: mr. speaker, i wish we weren't here today. i really wish we weren't. i wish this bill was not necessary. but it is. and our heart, all of us, go out to the folks of flint, michigan, the system let them down at every level. and that is frankly unacceptable. all folks want is the peace of mind that their governments are looking out for their best interest and their water is safe. this bill is the first step. imagine if you went to draw a cup of cold water from your kitchen faucet and suddenly to think about whether it's safe to drink or not. now put yourself into the shoes of a parent whose son or
5:17 am
daughter has already take an drink from that faucet or made coffee or infant formula. what health risk has your child already been exposed to? what do we do now? how can we expect a family to live day to day without safe drinking water? after all those initial concerns, you begin asking yourself, how is that situation possible in the 21st century, in the united states of america? we've been looking, seeking answers to that question from e.p.a., from the state of michigan, and from others. but in the meantime, we know that part of the answer, certainly not the whole story, is that there was a terrible breakdown in communication at every level of government. it is sickening and it breaks your heart, with thousands of kids who indeed could be at risk. being poisoned from faucets that they thought were safe.
5:18 am
government officials knew there was a serious cause for concern and failed to inform the people of flint. many of those officials did not even seem to be effectively communicating and sharing data among themselves. the e.p.a. regional office was not telling headquarters about everything. the state was not telling e.p.a. everything. and we don't know yet what the city of flint was telling the state or e.p.a. that's got to be fixed. and it's got to be fixed now. the safe drinking water act improved compliance -- improved compliance awareness act ensures the public learns of excessive lead levels in their drinking water by setting forth how and when states, e.p.a. and blic water utilities commune kate their findings. the bill also strengthens public notification rules when
5:19 am
lead levels are exceeded, individual consumers will be told when their own house tests positive for lead problems, and if the community or states fail to notify the public, e.p.a. will step in and do so. they're required to do that. the bill also requires e.p.a. to create a strategic plan for handling and improving information flow among water utilities, the states, e.p.a. and affected drinking water consumers before there is an enforceable lead exceedance in drinking water. let me repeat that. before lead levels get too high. finally, this bipartisan bill requires consumer notification when water being transported in a lead pipe is so corrosive that in fact it could get into public drinking water. i want to thank all members of the house for their support, especially my michigan colleagues, every one of which, from both parties, signed as an original co-sponsor of this legislation.
5:20 am
i want to particularly thank mr. kildee,. and i want to thank frank pallone, mr. shimkus, mr. tonko, for their collaboration and sport. i want to thank mccarthy. two mccarthys. kevin mccarthy, scheduling this at almost a moments notice, and the lead counsel on this legislation, dave mccarthy, who helped write and improve the bill as it was originally introduced. what is said on this floor today will not do anything to ease the mind of a parent in flint. the entire situation breaks your heart but it has a responsibility working together as republicans and democrats to fix the problem. this bill is an important step. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from new york is ecognized.
5:21 am
mr. tonko: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. i rise in support of the safe drinking water act improved compliance awareness, introduced last week by our colleague, representative kildee, with the support of other members of the michigan delegation. this bill would strengthen requirements to have the e.p.a. notify the public when concentrations of lead exceed federal standards. that's notifying the public. while i support this legislation and urge my colleagues to support it, far more than this is needed to address the many failings that led to the tragic circumstances that are still being experienced by the residents of flint, michigan. a situation that has drawn the nation's attention and drawn compassion for children and their families. this should never have occurred in any city in our nation. as with any such tragic failure, there is an attempt to assess blame. while accountability is important, those who failed in
5:22 am
their responsibility should be held accountable. but no one here has yet taken part, bility for our congress' part in this event. this congress as well as many previous congresses have failed to maintain federal support for the maintenance and improvements of our water infrastructure. we have been underfunding these systems for decades. the poor condition of the water treatment and distribution system in flint set the stage for this tragedy. we are doing this in an attempt to save money. well, in fact, we are wasting many millions of dollars more by allowing essential infrastructure to deteriorate to the extent where a constant stream of emergency responses and repairs are required to keep these systems working. finally, we need to do something for the people of flint. the state of michigan and president obama's administration have both begun to mobilize resources to deal with the immediate need for safe drinking water.
5:23 am
and they are working to eliminate lead from the water distribution system. but we still don't know if essential corrosion control can be re-established and bottled water does not solve flint's problems. the residents of flint need a fully functioning public water system that delivers safe, clean water to their homes, to their schools and their businesses. we need to work with the state of michigan to make that happen, and we need to care for the people who were exposed to lead, especially our children who are most vulnerable to lead exposure. they need treatment and sustained assistance to deal with the health problems they may experience as a result of this man-made disaster. the conditions that enabled this crisis to happen are not unique to flint, and while this bill is a first step to help communities that may face these problems in the future, it cannot be our last step. we must embrace our responsibility to support
5:24 am
federal investment in drinking water systems. the public health and future prosperity of the people of flint and thousands of other communities across our great nation are continuing to suffer the concerns and are counting on our progressive actions. i look forward to continuing this discussion, and with that, mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. upton: mr. speaker, i would yield three minutes to the gentleman from michigan, a co-sponsor of the bill, mr. walberg. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized for three minutes. mrs. walorski: thank you, mr. speaker. -- mr. walberg: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to thank the chairman as well. i want to thank by thanking my friends, dan kildee and chairman upton for their work on this bipartisan legislation and ensuring a swift congressional response to the ongoing water crisis in flint, michigan. what have we learned and what will we do both now and in the future, mr. speaker, is the
5:25 am
question. what happened in flint is not a natural disaster. it's a human disaster and a failure of government at every level. in my questioning at last week's oversight and government reform hearing it became very clear that individuals with the e.p.a. knew about the high levels of the -- lead levels in the drinking water for months but failed to communicate this information to the people of flint. even under repeated freedom of information act requests. the bill we are considering today takes important steps to strengthen federal requirements on the e.p.a. to notify the public when concentrations of lead in drinking water are above federal requirements. i'm glad the entire michigan delegation's backing this bill, and i'm committed to continuing to work together to get answers and help the families in flint
5:26 am
who need clean water, and for that matter, mr. speaker, learning from this the families in the entire united states to make sure this doesn't happen to them as well. mr. speaker and america, in the 21st century children should not have to worry about safe and clean drinking water. the flint water crisis never should have happened, and we must take action to ensure it never happens again. making things right must be a cooperative effort at every level and this bill takes important steps to ensure proper coordination going forward. i offer all of my support, all of my assistance, all of my help and my votes to make sure this happens and i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan, mr. walberg, yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. tonko: yes, mr. speaker, i have a copy of the comments from representative frank
5:27 am
pallone, ranker to the energy and commerce committee, and i ask unanimous consent that his statement be entered into the record. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's request is covered by general leave. topping tonk thank you. with that -- mr. tonko: thank you. with that i yield five minutes of time to representative dan kildee who has carried the concern and the emotion of this situation as the representative in the house of flint, michigan . his energetic efforts, his determination, his obvious passion for getting this done, getting some relief, relief essential for flint done is tremendously moving. and so i yield five minutes to my colleague from michigan. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan, mr. kildee, is recognized for five minutes. mr. kilmer: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, tonko, for your comments and your support and leadership on this issue, and please extend my thanks to ranking member pallone for his effort and his support. i know he's dealing with a difficult time himself right
5:28 am
now. and we extend our best wishes to him. and i want to thank all of my michigan colleagues for joining as original co-sponsors of this legislation. particularly thank chairman upton for his help, his guidance, his assistance and really collaboration on getting a piece of legislation put together that we think is very helpful in preventing another situation such as what has occurred in my hometown from ever happening again in the united states. so thank you, mr. upton, for your assistance and leadership on this. flint is my home. the people i represent are the people i grew up with in flint, michigan. it's a great community. it's been through some struggles for sure the last few decades, but we've never dealt with anything quite like this, something so fundamental as safe drinking water that we take for granted.
5:29 am
turn on the faucet, as mr. upton said, you expect the water that comes out of that faucet to be safe for yourself, for your children, to make formula, to cook food, to drink. and because of a series of decisions that really are almost incomprehensible in their impact, people in flint, michigan, can't drink their water. 100,000 people can't drink the water. the thing that makes me most upset, sad, yes, but also angry is that this crisis, this situation which will last for decades on its impact was completely avoidable. unlike a lot of the other struggles that my hometown has faced as a result of big changes in the economy, development patterns, etc., this was a series of decisions that we could easily identify that could easily have been
5:30 am
prevented with just more thought and more care, and in this case, a stronger set of requirements for disclosure when lead levels are elevated in a drinking water system. so this legislation is one step. it is not the total solution. we really have to deal and i hope my colleagues will also join in us putting together a response to the crisis being felt by the people in flint right now. this bill unfortunately is too late to help them, but it can elp the next flint, perhaps. this would require the e.p.a. to provide notice if the state agency, responsible for enforcement of the clean drinking water laws, does not act to provide notice to the citizens affected and to the water system. and let me just be clear on that. the state of michigan in the
5:31 am
case of the flint situation had primacy in terms of enforcing law. they make sure that the clean water is enforced and to do sampling and provide remediation, provide intervention if in fact it's not the case. and so yes, there has been a failure of government, but i think we have to take care not to attempt to create some sort of false sense of equivalency of responsibility. for the city of flint, for example, which is the most local level of government and where the water system is operated, was under the control of an emergency manager a state official appointed to overtake operation of the city of flint. so to the extent that the city was responsible, the city was the state in this regard. and in terms of the federal role, there was apparent
5:32 am
confusion or disagreement as to whether the e.p.a. had authority absent state notification to the public of the data that they had whether the e.p.a. had authority to go public, to make it clear that there was a problem. this legislation addresses that. this legislation strengthens the hand of those who work at the e.p.a. and actually requires them, not simply allows, but requires them to provide notice to the public and to a water system operator in the event that the state ails to do so. had that happened, it would not have prevented the bad decisions that led to this crisis, but it would have prevented them from going on for months and months and months with no action to protect the people in flint. this is important legislation.
5:33 am
we need more. we need help for the people of flint, but this is a step in the right direction in preventing flint from -- what happened in flint from happening to another community with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan, mr. upton, is recognized. mr. upton: mr. speaker, i might inquire as to how much time i have remaining on my side. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan, mr. upton, has 13 1/2 minutes. the gentleman from new york has 13 minutes. mr. upton: i yield to the gentleman from michigan, again, an original co-sponsor of the bill, three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized for three minutes. >> i thank the gentleman from flint, mr. kildee, for his leadership in this matter, for raising our attention to this and i'd also like to thank chairman upton for his leadership, for the michigan delegation and bringing us together and putting aside any partisan differences to address a need of our great state and also for the children and
5:34 am
families across our country. mr. bishop: i have spent my entire life in the state of michigan. i was born here, raised there -- excuse me. many generations before me the same. born and raised in michigan. my family, my current family, my wife and my kids -- i have three kids who also live in michigan and will also, i'm sure, see to it that their children live here -- live there as well. . when i learned what happened in flint i was absolutely heartbroken and it frightens me to think that a failure of this magnitude could happen in the 21st century and in our state. can you imagine not being able to drink the water from your own tap? what if you weren't able to bathe or take a shower because of fear of what might be in the water? the anger and the frustration is palpable. and it should be.
5:35 am
my district borders on congressman kildee's and i can tell you firsthand the crisis not only affects the impact -- impacts of community of flint, but the entire great lakes state. for weeks i've seen local high schools, veterans groups, concerned citizens, you name it, people from all over michigan are rising to address the crisis and to help the residents, the families and children of flint. when it comes to local, state and federal leadership, we must do everything possible to help as well. every single one of us here today has a duty to ensure that families and children are safe and have access to the essentials. the most basic of which is clean drinking water from household faucets. sure, we can point the fingers and play the blame game. but when it comes down to fixing it, we must do so fast and we need more actions than words. we need solutions.
5:36 am
what chairman upton and congressman kildee have proposed is a first-step solution to ensure this will not happen again. first and foremost, this legislation makes the e.p.a. -- makes sure the e.p.a. will step up and notify the public when they know concentrations of lead in drinking water are above federal requirements. it also streamlines communications between the utilities, the state, the e.p.a. and the affected customers. the entire delegation of the state of michigan in congress agrees, this is a crisis. but to be clear, this is not a democrat or republican issue. and i would say, shame on anyone who attempts to capitalize on this issue or use the families of flint in this crisis to further their own personal agenda. this is about commonsense -- common sense and delivering solutions to these children and families. so i ask my colleagues, on behalf of both sides of the aisle, to join michigan and help us take action.
5:37 am
thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. tonko: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield five minutes to another member of the michigan delegation, representative lawrence, who has shown great leadership in her role on the oversight and government reform committee and again has been a passionate voice to address the families of flint. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from michigan is recognized for five minutes. mrs. lawrence: thank you, mr. chairman. i want to say that the crisis in flint demands action. i ran for congress after serving as a mayor because i felt strongly that our government -- we have a responsibility and when you ask for a vote, you're asking for the trust in our government. and we betrayed the trust of our citizens when we did not provide a human need and that's clean water. but i stand here today encouraged.
5:38 am
i ran on the premise that we need to work together as a government. and i can tell you that this crisis in flint is not a political issue. it's a moral issue. it's why each of us in congress sit here today on the vote of the people's trust, and that is to take care of this great country. it's a moral issue and it calls for all of us in congress to act. and today i'm standing here with a sense of hope being fulfilled, that we have eliminated the aisle and we're standing here together. so, mr. chairman, i rise in strong support of h.r. 447, the safe drinking water act improved compliance awareness. this bill will ensure that e.p.a. notifies communities of lead contamination, if state or local agencies fail to do so. and that clearly is what happened in flint. local water authorities will
5:39 am
have to provide notification to the public when lead contamination is the result of lead from pipes and other infrastructure leaking into the water supply. this notice will have to be provided to affected residents, regardless of whether any drinking water standards are violated. if the operator does not notify the public, in this case it was the state e.p.a., state -- i'm sorry, michigan environmental quality, if they do not notify the public, then the e.p.a. must do so. this is precisely what happened in flint. state officials repeatedly ignored the pleas of the residents and those, what we're calling civic heroes, from outside, and experts about the lead levels. passing this bill today will ensure that the situation in flint -- and i'm joining with my republican colleagues and democratic -- that this never
5:40 am
happens again in our united states. the decision to share the type of critical information should not be based on political judgment. h.r. 4470 will ensure that resident as i quire the information they need about their drinking water systems and give e.p.a. the ability and responsibility to step in and notify residents if a state or water system fails to act. h.r. 4470 is just the first step in addressing our country's drinking water infrastructure issue. and i hope that we can continue to work together in a bipartisan manner to ensure that flint never happens again. and this is the first step in fixing our infrastructure in america. because other members of congress have talked about lead water crisis in their community. so this is a first step. and for me, this is a fulfilling day, to stand here
5:41 am
and support with my colleagues, regardless of our political affiliation, and take care of the people of america. i yield back my time, thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. upton: mr. speaker, i would yield two minutes to the gentleman from michigan, again, a co-sponsor of the bill, mr. kildee's bill, mr. moolenaar, for two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: jealt the gentleman is recognized for two minutes -- the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. moolenaar: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to join my michigan colleagues as a co-sponsor of this legislation and thank representative kildee and chairman upton for bringing this legislation forward. our hearts go out to the people of flint. who are enduring so much and persevering during this time. it's heartwarming to see the way people across the country have come together and supported the people of flint. the sad thing is that this situation could have been prevented. and should have been prevented. and the legislation we're
5:42 am
discussing today here in the house of representatives is because of failures in local, state and federal government. the fact is that the officials at the e.p.a. knew last april, 10 months ago, that the flint utilities department was not using corrosion controls, putting water safety at risk. instead of alerting the public, the e.p.a. stayed silent. when an e.p.a. employee tried to speak out, he was silenced. the e.p.a. deferred to a state agency, the mdeq, which also failed to tell the public. last month the e.p.a. administratorer sent a memo creating a formal policy on the importance of assessing and responding to critical public health issues. that the administrator had to remind employees of the importance of public health speaks to the misplaced priority of the e.p.a. and its
5:43 am
officials. so today we have to pass a law requiring the agency to notify the public when water quality is unsafe. and constitutes a public health threat. this legislation is a reminder to the e.p.a. that it needs to focus on its core responsibility, safe drinking water. using its authority rather than overreaching outside of its jurisdiction. this is not -- this is an example of one community who has been adversely affected. flint is not alone in this challenge. and this has ramifications all across our country. and i urge my colleagues to support this bill and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. tonko: mr. speaker, i'm waiting for another individual to offer testimony. and so we'll move to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. upton: mr. speaker, i would yield to another original co-sponsor of the legislation, the gentleman from michigan,
5:44 am
mr. trot, two minutes -- mr. trott, two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. trott: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to thank everybody for the bipartisan work on this issue. i rise today in support of the safe drinking water improved compliance awareness act. the this bill is a step in the right direction -- this bill is a step in the right direction. the legislation requires the e.p.a. administrator to work with states and local water authorities to develop a strategic plan for addressing lead in drinking water. this important legislation will ensure that the complete failure to notify people of a health risk, which occurred in flint, does not happen again. this is an issue that many communities across our country will have to deal with as our water system infrastructure ages. we must ensure that the public is aware and our citizens are informed and our water authorities and agencies identify and take steps to prevent this level of failure from happening again. mr. speaker, on the federal level, it is unacceptable that the e.p.a., an agency with a
5:45 am
budget over $8 billion, did not escalate its concerns over the presence of lead contaminants. this is an agency that is literally paid to protect the public health and environment and had failed and this failure may not happen again. all americans should feel safe drink water from their kitchen sink. this legislation is a commonsense solution and i urge its immediate passage. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york continues to reserve? mr. tonko: i'll continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. upton: mr. speaker, i would yield two minutes to the gentleman from south carolina, mr. sanford. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina is recognized for two minutes. mr. sanford: i thank the chairman and rise in support of this act and thank you for your hard work and your committee's hard work on this bill. i'll be exceedingly brief. because certainly, as has been out-- as has been outlined, this is about a failure of government at a multitude of levels. state levels, federal levels, real failure and real
5:46 am
consequences poot -- to the people of flint. it's also, i think, a reminder to all of us of the significance of bracket creep in government. wherein if everybody's involved, nobody's involved. if everybody's accountable, nobody's accountable. and that's true of a government, at a government level, it's true of a regulatory body. and the importance of clearly defined missions which i think is part of what the strategic plan really gets at in this act. i admire your work on that. i also want to just reference that this is also a reminder, a wake-up call, if you will, on the importance of watching out for unsustainable political promises. i say that because if you look at the general budget, the general fund, within flipt, basically 1/3 of their -- flint, basically 1/3 of their revenue goes to pay for retiree benefits. that is going to rise to essentially 40% by 2020. 40%. i bring up that simply because it is indeed a wakeup call to the unsustainability of our federal promises. as you look at the numbers going forward at the federal
5:47 am
level. so, my heart goes out to the people of flint. i think that this is an important measure going forward. but it's also an important reminder, every one of us here at federal level, to watch out for the unsustainable promises here in washington. with that i yield back. thank you, mr. chairman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york. mr. tonko: mr. speaker, might i inquire how much time we have? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan has 5 1/2 minutes remaining. the gentleman from new york has eight minutes remaining. mr. tonko: with that i will yield three minutes to the gentleman from michigan, representative kildee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized for three minutes. mr. kildee: thank you, mr. chairman. i thank my friend for yielding. i appreciate all the comments and the support, especially the sympathy and really unity with the people of my hometown of flint. i do want to ensure, though, that we're properly characterizing the legislation and its reasoning and its impact. the legislation would actually
5:48 am
not just require e.p.a. to provide notice, but would require the local jurisdiction, the state agency, provide them with the opportunity to do what they should do anyway and that is to provide notice. and absent their willingness to do so, the e.p.a. would then be required -- it's an important distinction. in this case, the state of michigan has primesy in enforcement of these rules. the e.p.a. in the case of flint did take action when they learned of the elevated lead levels. the action was to repeatedly reach out to the michigan department of environmental quality and insist that they enforce the lead and copper rule. and actually they went so far as to insist that they initiate corrosion control, which is the mechanism by which lead leaching would have been
5:49 am
prevented. not only did the michigan department of environmental quality fail to act, they actually told the e.p.a. almost a year ago that they actually had initiated corrosion control when they had not. so, i think it's -- it would be a mistake to create some sort of equivalency between the role of the e.p.a. and the role of the state of michigan in this. it was the state of michigan that had prime responsibility, that failed. and the e.p.a., while i would have preferred they shout from the mountaintop that they were having this problem getting the lead agency to enforce the rule, there was at least confusion as to whether or not they had the authority to do so. and even today the state of michigan continues to push back on e.p.a. attempts to test water, to insist on enforcement. . it's an important distinction to make. regarding my friend, mr. sanford's comments, i appreciate
5:50 am
his reflection on the financial situation within the city of flint. while that is a set of questions that clearly needs attention, the truth of the matter is had the michigan department of environmental quality insisted on the use of corrosion control in the flint water system as the law would require, the cost would have been $140 a day. all of this could have been prevented by the state simply requiring that $140 a day to be spent. this legislation is important in preventing this from happening again so that an agency of the state that refuses to enforce the law at least can't do so in the dark. it would require e.p.a., if the state won't give public notice, it would require the e.p.a. to do so. this is an important step. we crafted this legislation to make sure that each level of government is transparent when it comes to these issues. with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yield back. the gentleman from michigan, mr. upton, is recognized.
5:51 am
mr. upton: i have no further members wishing to speak. i'm prepared to close. mr. tonko: mr. speaker, i believe we have no further witnesses that will appear. with that i might just offer my comments and then -- mr. upton: then i'll close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized with five minutes remaining. mr. tonko: let me again offer appreciation to chairman upton and our ranker, representative pallone, for their leadership on this issue in working a -- in the spirit of bipartisan to bring this measure to the floor. working with the michigan delegation and in particular representative kildee who has been directly impacted on behalf of flint, michigan, that he represents. i would also make certain that we remember that under the safe drinking water act as representative kildee indicated
5:52 am
states have primacy. an important issue for members that frequently talk about empowering our state and local governments. it's the state's responsibility when that accept that role of primacy to run these systems and comply with federal standards. before we point fingers at the e.p.a., let's remember that congress has cut its budget year after year. we want them to do more with less. of achieving nt efficiency. we cut valuable staffing and programs. we can point to failures at all levels of government, but the public doesn't want to hear, they don't want to hear us blame anyone. they want and deserve real solutions and financial assistance to address the crisis at hand. the people of
5:53 am
flint and better protect our public health going forward. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york yield back the balance of his time of the the gentleman from michigan, mr. upton, is recognized for 5 1/2 minutes. mr. upton: i would just encourage all my colleagues to support this legislation. mr. tonko said this bill is not about a blame game. we are trying to fix a problem so it don't happen again any place. i just might note that the house was out two weeks. we had martin luther king week, we had the snowstorm, and couldn't come back. our committee held a number of briefings. i expanded it to include certainly all the members, republican and democrat, on the energy and commerce committee, but i also extended that out to all the members of the michigan delegation, both of our senators, wells the -- as well as the government reform it committee majority and minority staff. mr. kildee mentioned about mr. pallone not being here. his father died earlier this week. he's where he should be, but he cares deeply about this
5:54 am
legislation as well. and i know when i sat down with my friend, mr. kildee, last week to talk about the intent of this legislation and where he was, we were able to, i think, make some important constructive changes that strengthen the bill that led to the immediate -- it was a no-brainer for us to get every member on both sides of the aisle from michigan to be an original co-sponsor. i congratulate him for that initiative. but i must say this is a first step. i know in the future our committee is going to be looking at how we can better expand flexibility, i think, of states as relates to their safe drinking water fund. state revolving fund as well. we are looking to hear from the states in terms of what we might be able to do on a federal response. nothing this again is a primacy at the state and local level. particularly when a state like we have seen here actually has
5:55 am
been given an emergency declaration as our governor sought. encourage all my colleagues to support this bill. and i commend mr. kildee. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: all time having expired, the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 4470, as amended. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, -- the gentleman from michigan. mr. upton: i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this
5:56 am
>> president obama gave a speech yesterday on the nine-year anniversary of announcing he was running for president. that's next on c-span. "washingtoning's update on the house committee and update on the benghazi issues. that's live on "washington journal." undecided voters. one of the biggest issues is education. i'm also a union president and local union about 600 teachers. one of the things that should be is the change and punish regime of


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on