Senate Blocks Energy Bill in Dispute Over Flint's Water

(Bloomberg) -- A bipartisan energy bill more than a year in the making was blocked by Democrats on a procedural vote in the U.S. Senate, falling victim to disagreements over aid for the lead-poisoned water system of Flint, Michigan.

The Senate voted 46-50, short of the 60 votes needed to advance the bill, with Democrats leading the opposition. Supporters said they would work to resolve differences and call for another vote, possibly next week.

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, accused Democrats of "gamesmanship."

"The vote that just went down was not about the energy bill," he said. "This is about trying to embarrass Republicans and trying to make us look bad and portray us as having no compassion for the people of Flint, which is exactly the opposite of true."

The legislation, S. 2012, was derailed by the dispute over steering hundreds of millions of dollars to Flint, a town northwest of Detroit where residents have been using water tainted with lead since the city switched its water supply system.

Negotiating Compromise

Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat from Michigan, and Senator Lisa Murkowski, the Alaska Republican who heads the chamber’s energy committee, have been negotiating a possible compromise.

Murkowski proposed a $550 million loan package for Flint and said she would continue work on the bill.


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