Rep. Daniel Kildee (D-MI) went to the floor of the House Tuesday afternoon to demand answers about why money for Flint, Michigan, was stalled in Congress. But he already had a pretty good idea why.
“I have to admit, Mr. Speaker, I’m coming to a conclusion that I don’t want to come to, that the leadership in this House when they think about Flint or when they look at Flint, they see something different,” Kildee said. “They don’t see American citizens, don’t see people in need, but there’s something about this poor community, this poor majority-minority community that exempts them from the kind of help that we have provided time and time again to people in crisis in this country.”
Kildee, who is white and represents majority-black Flint, was upset that funding for Flint’s lead-contaminated water crisis was not only not included in the must-pass continuing resolution that Republicans drafted in the Senate, but that Republicans also rejected an amendment to add it to the water resources funding bill late Monday evening in a party line vote, again throwing its future into question.
“I hate to come to the conclusion that there’s something about these people that causes this Congress to decide they don’t deserve that help. That is a shame,” Kildee said.
Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA) rose after Kidlee’s speech to say he was “so incensed by that presentation.”
“I know my friend is passionate for his folks. I live in a majority-minority county. And if you want to know … if folks are watching this and they want to know why we can’t get things done, you can use this presentation as the expose on why we are divided instead of united. How dare you that folks don’t care you about your community. How dare you suggest that race is the basis. How dare when I state on my committee working on this issue hour after hour and not one member brought this up,” Woodall said. “We owe each other better than that. You all are better than that.”
Kildee came back with a challenge.
“Prove me wrong. Prove me wrong,” Kildee said. “You have it in your power to take up this legislation. It’s not me who’s blocking this legislation. I don’t want to come to this conclusion. It’s very difficult to take time and time again this question to the floor of the House and wonder why Flint is exempt. Sympathy does not get anywhere.”