Washington, DC– Fifteen Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) visited Flint, Michigan and met with families affected by the city’s ongoing water crisis.
While in Flint, the members toured the city and held a ‘Speak Out’ to hear directly from families affected by the water crisis. The members also received a briefing from Dr. Nicole Lurie, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, that provided an update on current federal response efforts. The briefing also allowed the members to discuss additional resources needed in Flint.
The Members were a part of a 26-Member delegation led by Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), and included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman G.K. Butterfield.
“What is happening to families in Flint is a tragedy. Every level of government must act in a coordinated effort to solve this crisis. Members of Congress went to Flint to listen to residents directly and see first-hand what their needs are. With investments in health, education and infrastructure, the children of Flint can live successful, healthy lives. We cannot turn our backs on them, or the children of any other city like it. We must act,” said Congressman Keith Ellison (MN-05), Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
“The crisis in Flint is unimaginable,” said Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02), Vice-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “With thousands of children and other residents exposed to lead contaminated water in their own homes, we need to hear directly from the families affected. Our first priority is to ensure the people of Flint get the resources they need. By joining together, we can start repairing the damage suffered by Flint residents, so they can have faith in their government again.”
“Thank you to Leader Pelosi and Congressman Kildee for organizing this important delegation so Members of Congress can bear witness to the real impact of this man-made and entirely preventable tragedy. My constituents and I are appalled by this injustice and we are committed to doing everything necessary to help this community,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13). “The tragedy in Flint is a direct result of institutional racism and structural classism that devalued the lives of people living Flint. This happened because public officials with the power to act ignored their responsibility as children and families were poisoned by the very water in their homes. This is simply unacceptable. As Members of Congress, we have a duty to hold officials accountable and take real action to empower and uplift the people of Flint following this unthinkable tragedy.”
“No parent should have to worry about the water their kids drink or the safety of their back yards. It’s outrageous that lead poisoning is an ongoing issue affecting families in Flint and across the country. In the Los Angeles area, including in my district, we are confronting a possible environmental crisis due to contamination from a lead battery plant that could affect up to 10,000 homes. Families want solutions and they need action now,” said House Democratic Chairman Xavier Becerra (CA-34).
“The Flint water crisis is not just a local concern or Michigan problem—it is a national issue that tells us how the story of how de-industrialization, de-regulation, and disinvestment can result in tragedy. What we are seeing in Flint appears to be a perfect storm of global and national headwinds and unforgivable, reckless disregard that must be fixed,” stated Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13). “I am thankful that my Democratic colleagues in Congress were able to join us here today to hear directly from those that have been impacted and from Dr. Lurie to learn firsthand how we can provide a stronger federal response to bring relief to these families and help remedy the wrong they have suffered. I thank Congressman Kildee for his leadership and determination to resolve this ongoing crisis.”
“I want to thank Rep. Kildee, Leader Pelosi and my fellow members of the CPC and CBC for making this Speak Out possible. It was so important for the residents of Flint, whose trust has been shattered and whose rights have been violated, to have the opportunity to let Congress know firsthand what they need to rebuild their health and lives. It was also important for my fellow members and me to show the people of Flint that we are here, we care, and we will not stop until the truth about this man-made disaster is revealed and steps are taken to ensure it never happens anywhere in America again,” said Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (MI-14).
“I join my Michigan colleagues in thanking my House colleagues from across the country for visiting Flint to hear firsthand from residents and to learn how we can best work together at the federal level to support them. Flint faces many challenges, but Michiganders are strong and resilient and we are committed to standing together to overcome this crisis. It is also imperative that we ensure this never happen in another community in America,” said Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12).
“It is unconscionable that the Flint water crisis continues to affect families and children. Not only did the State of Michigan fail to protect and serve its people, the government created the crisis and magnified its effects with delayed responses and outright lies that endangered the public,” said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03). “We must ensure that every child exposed to lead has access to nutrition and childhood development services to mitigate the adverse effects of exposure. Federal programs continue to play a critical role in aiding Flint and we have to stop this crisis from happening elsewhere.”
“As a mom, I can’t imagine the horror parents must have felt after learning their children were being poisoned by the water coming into their homes and schools,” said Congresswoman Katherine Clark (MA-05). “It’s outrageous that it takes an emergency like this to underscore that vulnerable families are hit hardest when budgets are slashed without regard for health and safety. I want my colleagues to hear the stories we bring back from Flint so that we can ensure the resources that Flint’s families need to care for their children, fix the problem permanently, and make sure this never happens again to any of our nation’s children.”
“Today I stand in solidarity with the women, men and children of Flint, Michigan as well as my colleagues to witness firsthand the extent of the devastation caused by the city’s contaminated water,” stated Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09). “The State of Michigan made a clear choice to divert Flint’s source of water for the sake of saving money with little consideration of the impact on public health. This choice has proven to be catastrophic for the tens of thousands of people living in Flint and in turn created an environmental justice community in the process. Access to clean water is a fundamental human right irrespective of socio-economic status and ethnic origins. I will work extensively to hold those responsible accountable, and fight for justice on behalf of the people of Flint.”
“The Flint water crisis has shown us that the trust and ability to protect our citizens’ basic right to clean water has been shaken. We all have a duty to ensure justice and protection of our citizens. This is an important topic and one that Congress must turn its attention to with urgency and unity of effort to address the harms caused, get an accounting of what happened, understand how the water was poisoned, make the lives of people damaged by this tragedy whole, find justice for those lives that may have been lost and determine and provide for the long-term health needs of those impacted. Not only will the dangers and hazards of this disaster be felt by the residents of Flint, Michigan for years to come, but the American public remains at risk to national security vulnerabilities exposed through our most basic infrastructure that supports the delivery of clean water to homes and businesses nationwide,” said Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18).
“Americans across the country are outraged by the tragedy here in Flint. As Dr. King once said, ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ We simply cannot stand by while our fellow Americans – including thousands of innocent children – are suffering. We are here today because we wanted to meet with the local leaders and families who are confronting this crisis, hear their stories, and stand up for them in Washington. Congressman Kildee is a powerful champion for these families and we are proud to join him in this effort to ensure that justice is done. Flint families deserve answers from the leaders who failed them and solutions that will help them recover from this terrible crisis. We are committed to doing everything we can in Congress to send the resources they need and ensure that those who are responsible will be held accountable. The families of Flint deserve nothing less,” said Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02).
“We come to the city of Flint, not as Members of Congress or elected officials, but as Americans concerned for the well-being of our fellow brothers and sisters,” said Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-04). “The ongoing tragedy occurring in this community demands more than just our collective attention and empathy. It demands swift and effective action from federal, state, and local stakeholders. We are here to let the residents and families of Flint know that they are not alone, for we are reminded by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King that ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’”
"This trip with Leader Pelosi and other Members to our colleague Dan Kildee’s district is special for me because the District of Columbia experienced its own lead-in-water crisis 15 years ago,” said Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC). “No Americans are in greater solidarity with Flint than D.C. residents. The opportunity to talk with actual residents going through this crisis is the highlight of this trip. For me, this is also a fact-finding trip to see whether legislation is in order to make sure other jurisdictions can guard against the harm we least expect--in the water we drink. Flint has become the poster child warning the entire nation to take steps to ensure water is free of lead and other contaminants. The Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment on which I serve has a special responsibility to investigate the safety of our nation’s water infrastructure. The federal government has stepped up by sending many agencies to Flint. However, the state of Michigan itself, whose responsibility it is to provide safe drinking water, has to take the leadership that was so deficient and that could have prevented this crisis. We go back to Washington equipped with a practical to do list that I hope will benefit the people of Flint and the rest of the country.”
“I am left heartbroken after speaking with the families of Flint, who have suffered so much." said Congressman Takano. “This terrible crisis was entirely preventable and I join with my colleagues in demanding accountability for those responsible. I am grateful to Congressman Kildee and Congresswoman Lawrence for their invitation and hope that under their leadership we can protect communities across the country from a similar tragedy,” said Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41).
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