House Republicans shut down investigation into Flint water crisis, blame EPA instead
Donald Trump will have the support of the a large team of GOP hacks in House and Senate, hacks who have zero interest in the welfare of the public and are willing to be obvious about their lack of interest (and even contempt) for the public. Sophia Tesfaye provides a good example in Salon:
As President Barack Obama signed a bill on Friday authorizing $170 million to address the problem of the lead being found in drinking water in Flint, Michigan, Republicans in the House quietly closed a nearly yearlong investigation of the disaster — without receiving crucial information from Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.
Late on Friday afternoon Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a pair of letters announcing the end of his investigation. His letters offered no new information and essentially summarized what had already revealed about the crisis during several high-profile hearings earlier this year.
Over a year ago Flint’s mayor, Karen Weaver, declared a state of emergency because of her city’s supply of poisonous water and still it remains undrinkable. Flint’s water woes date from April 2014, when a state-appointed emergency manager switched the city’s water source from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River in order to save money.
But on Friday just hours after the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, Maryland’s Rep. Elijah Cummings, called for a subpoena of the Republican governor of Michigan responsible for appointing the emergency manager who had switched Flint’s water supply, Chaffetz announced he was ending the congressional investigation. Chaffetz said he had concluded that “a series of failures at all levels of government caused, and then exacerbated, the water crisis.”
In his letter to the Republican chairmen of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Appropriations Committee, Chaffetz said, “The committee found significant problems at Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality and unacceptable delays in the Environmental Protection Agency’s response to the crisis.”
Arguing that “the federal regulatory framework is so outdated that it sets up states to fail,” Chaffetz called for EPA funds designated for use for studying and combatting climate change be redirected to water pipe improvement projects across the nation. Chaffetz also called for removing the requirement that federally funded drinking-water construction projects pay prevailing wages under the Davis Bacon Act.
“Congress put EPA in this role as a backstop in the event that a state or territory failed to provide safe drinking water,” Chaffetz wrote. “In this case, however, even the federal safeguard failed Flint’s residents.”
Democrats, however, have pushed back on the Committee’s rushed assessment, criticizing Chaffetz’s sudden lack of interest in thorough investigations. (Under Chaffetz’ chairmanship, the Republican-led House Oversight Committee has chased the Planned Parenthood hoax, sought to impeach the IRS commissioner over the agency’s scrutiny of Tea Party-affiliated groups that sought tax-exempt status and vowed to continue investigating Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server even after the election.)
Cummings refused to sign Chaffetz’s letters closing the Flint investigation and a spokeswoman for the committee’s Democratic staff noted that Gov. Synder had “defied” requests to provide documents for the investigation.
In his Friday letter, Cummings argued that . . .
Chaffetz represents the Republican Party today.