Senate Republicans forced a vote on an amendment today that would have denied federal aid to the poisoned children of Flint, Michigan. What is even more deplorable is that 47 Senate Republicans voted not to help lead poisoned children.
The Coates Amendment to the Energy and Water Agencies Appropriations Act failed by a vote of 48-49. All Senate Democrats, with the exception of Sen. Claire McCaskill (MO) voted against the amendment. Five Republicans Sens. Lisa Murkowski (AK), Bill Cassidy (LA), Rob Portman (OH), Lamar Alexander (TN) and Dean Heller (NV) joined with Democrats in voting against the amendment, but 47 Senate Republicans voted not to provide federal aid for children that were poisoned by the decisions of Michigan’s Republican governor.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid blistered Republicans for their vote:
Three of the four Republican cosponsors of legislation to help the people of Flint voted to eliminate the funding source today. It is a disturbing trend that Senate Republicans are regularly unable to fulfill their commitments. The Senate cannot function if senators do not keep their word.
Republicans have proven once again that they are willing to turn their backs on the people of Flint. Every time the Senate comes close to a bipartisan compromise to help children suffering from lead poisoning, Republicans find an excuse to back away. Today, Republicans voted to remove a funding source for legislation to tackle Flint’s water crisis without offering a single dime to clean their poisoned water. More than 100,000 people – including 9,000 children under the age of six – have been poisoned in the city of Flint, and it is unconscionable that Republicans would attempt to deny them the support they desperately need.
Sadly, Republicans are happy to attack clean energy programs to please the Koch brothers, but they remain unwilling to lift a finger to help the people of Flint. I call on Republicans to end this unwarranted obstruction and protect the people of Flint and millions throughout the nation.
The 47 Senate Republicans who voted for this amendment displayed a basic contempt for the American people that is proof of why Republicans should be voted out of the majority in November. It doesn’t get any lower than voting against helping poisoned children.
Democrats should keep the actions of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the 46 Republicans who voted for this amendment in mind the next time one of these Republicans demands federal aid after a flood, fire, or hurricane.
Senate Republicans have prioritized the Kochs over kids, which is why they should not be trusted with power in the United States Senate.