Sen. Mike Lee is reportedly using a procedural maneuver to hold up millions of dollars in aid to residents of Flint, Michigan who are dealing with high levels of lead in their drinking water.
The Daily Beast reports Lee is using a “hold” to keep the proposal from moving forward. A hold is usually kept anonymous, but the publication says two sources have fingered Lee as blocking the bill.
Privately the Utah Republican has relied on three reasons to justify his opposition to the legislation, all of which are procedural or philosophical.
Lee doesn’t like that the proposal is not being put through the ordinary and time-consuming gamut of Senate procedures known as “regular order”; has objections on how money from the stimulus is being repurposed for water infrastructure; and is concerned about the federal government getting involved in what he views as a local issue.
His action—or inaction—comes as lawmakers in the Senate are scrambling to advance urgent legislation that would make hundreds of millions in grants and loans available to Flint, which in January declared a state of emergency after thousands of its residents were exposed to toxic levels of lead.