There’s at least one person standing in the way of enacting a bipartisan bill that would provide hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to victims of the Flint water crisis: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
The Associated Press reported that senators reached a tentative deal on Wednesday, but Cruz has chosen to place a “soft hold” on the bill. The proposed $220 million package would fix and replace the city’s lead-contaminated pipes, make other infrastructure improvements and bolster lead-prevention programs nationwide, according to the report.
A Cruz spokesman told the AP that staffers “are simply reviewing the bill right now.” Other Republican senators may also have holds on the bill, according to the report.
Cruz’s decision to halt voting on the bill came as a surprise to some, including Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Cruz will be competing in the state’s Republican presidential primary next month.
“We have heard that — and not a very smart move for a man who’s going to be in a primary in Michigan on March 8,” Stabenow told Politico. “And in Michigan this is a hugely bipartisan nonpartisan issue that everybody cares about.”
Lawmakers hope to vote on the bill as early as next week.