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admin 23.04.2016

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Democrats teamed up with some of their Republican counterparts on Thursday and blocked a wide-ranging U.S. The Republican-led Senate failed in two procedural votes to advance the bill after behind-the-scenes bipartisan talks broke down. Negotiators hope to find a compromise on an amendment that would have allocated millions of dollars to replace Flint's contaminated water system and provide healthcare for people sickened by it. The legislation fell far short of the 60 votes needed to clear procedural roadblocks and bring it to a vote. Democrats are making support for Flint, a poor city of mostly African Americans and Latinos near Detroit, a wider issue ahead of the November presidential election. Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska and a co-sponsor of the bill, proposed making up to $550 million available to Flint. Financially strapped Flint changed its water supply in 2014 from Detroit's system to the Flint River. The energy bill would have taken steps to speed permitting of liquefied natural gas facilities, fund research into advanced nuclear reactors and protect the power grid from cyber attacks. Stabenow noted that when a fertilizer plant exploded in West, Texas, in 2013, Cornyn pressed the federal government to direct millions of dollars to deal with the crisis. Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma had proposed a deal in which money for Flint would come from a fund for advanced vehicles. WASHINGTON — Senators from both parties reached a tentative deal Wednesday to address a water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and allow a long-stalled energy bill to move forward.


The apparent agreement follows weeks of negotiations on how to provide emergency aid to Flint, where drinking water became tainted when the city switched from the Detroit water system and began drawing from the Flint River in 2014 to save money.
The impasse over Flint has blocked a bipartisan energy bill that had been moving forward in the Senate.
The bill, the first comprehensive energy legislation in nearly a decade, promotes a wide range of energy, from renewables such as solar and wind power to natural gas and hydropower.
Under the tentative agreement, the Senate would vote on the energy bill before taking up the Flint legislation as a separate bill.
Democrats blame Michigan’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, and other state officials for a cost-cutting move that resulted in a public health emergency caused by lead-contaminated water. Republicans have acknowledged state errors, but also have pointed to a slow response by the U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) (3rd R) leads a news conference about potential legislation in response to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (L-R), Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), at the U.S. Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are due to hold a March presidential debate in Flint. Only $50 million would be immediately available to the city, where thousands of children have ingested lead from polluted water, and the water is still dangerous. What we need is dollars up front," Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan told reporters after the vote. Corrosive water from the river that runs past dumping grounds caused lead to leach from aging pipes in Flint, a city of 100,000.


Stabenow and Michigan Senator Gary Peters had proposed an amendment to the bill to direct up to $600 million to Flint. 2 Republican, said Democrats were trying to "embarrass" Republicans by making it look like they did not want to help Flint. The legislation also would speed federal approval of projects to export liquefied natural gas to Europe and Asia and boost energy efficiency. Subscribe to the mailing list and get a daily update with the most important news from Michigan! The Michigan House approved $30 million on Thursday to help pay Flint residents’ water bills in the aftermath of the city’s lead-contamination crisis. The deal also authorizes $50 million nationwide to bolster lead-prevention programs and improve children’s health.
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