Sen. Mike Lee, who appears to be Ted Cruz’s only friend in the Senate, has succeeded in using a hold to single-handedly deny the people of Flint, Michigan any funding to deal with their catastrophic lead-poisoning problem.

Bipartisan Senate leaders reached an agreement Wednesday on a long-stalled energy modernization bill that some had hoped would include money to address the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

But because the Flint provision is still the subject of a hold by Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee — who objects to the way it is funded — the energy bill will now move on without it.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan is not pleased:

“It’s totally unacceptable that Sen. Lee continues to block a vote on our fully paid for, bipartisan agreement to help Flint and other communities across the nation who have serious lead and water problems,” the Democrat said. “This is about something as basic as making sure families have clean water to drink and children with lead poisoning get the help they need.”

“We will not give up until this gets done using whatever legislative vehicle it takes,” she added.

Maybe the funding will come someday, but it will have to wait.

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Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at