Congress Strikes Deal On Flint, California Drought Funds

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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Congress struck a deal to provide funding for the Flint, Mich., water crisis and alleviate California’s drought problem by attaching language to the FY17 Water Resources Development Act, introduced Monday.

The legislation authorizes $170 million for Flint, which has been struggling with lead-tainted drinking water — less than the $220 million the Senate version called for — and $558 million for California desalination, recycling and storage projects in addition to a number of other issues.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy praised the California water provisions, commending Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein for her work on the legislation, saying “the agreement could not have been finalized” without her.

“This legislation will bring more water to our communities and supports critical storage projects. It also provides resources for water desalination, conservation, efficiency, and recycling projects,” McCarthy said in a statement. “Getting to this point has not been easy, but the collective commitment to provide relief to our state and local communities has proved resilient. This is an important moment for California, and the timing of this deal is critical—we cannot afford to miss capturing water from storms during this wet season.”

While the compromise may have been conducted in a bipartisan manner, not all members of Congress were happy about the deal.

California Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer slammed McCarthy for approving of the language.

“I was stunned to see comments made by Kevin McCarthy that the outrageous poison pill that he is trying to place on WRDA is ‘a little small agreement’ on California drought,” Boxer said in a statement.  “I will use every tool at my disposal to stop this last minute poison pill rider.”

WRDA is expected to be voted on this week.

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