Thune, Rounds Vote to Kill Funding to Fix Flint’s Water

Three public officials face criminal charges for falsifying documents to certify Flint, Michigan’s water for public consumption and thus poison its residents for well over a year.

But last week, two South Dakota public officials voted to deprive Flint and other American cities of the money they need to clean up their water:

On a 48-49 vote, the Senate defeated a proposal put forward by U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., to end the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan (ATVM) program, which was created in 2007 to help pay for research into more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, but has seen limited success with only five loans issued in that time — two of which defaulted.

…Democrats, including U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, both D-Mich., objected, however, noting that the ATVM program funds have already been targeted as a possible source of funding for legislation to pay for water infrastructure improvements in Flint and across the nation.

Stabenow, Peters and several other U.S. senators — including Republicans and Democrats — more than a month ago worked out a deal to provide at least $100 million in grants or loans to Flint, where high levels of lead have been detected in the water supply. The plan would also free up millions more for low-interest financing for water projects across the U.S. and for public health services related to lead poisoning.

That bipartisan proposal has still not passed the Senate — U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has put a hold on the bill, complaining that it gives the federal government too much authority over local water projects. But if Coats had succeeded in terminating the ATVM program, it could have made its eventual chances of passage even more remote [Todd Spangler, “Democrats Stop Threat to Flint Bill in U.S. Senate,” Detroit Free Press, 2016.04.21].

Senator John Thune
Senator John Thune

South Dakota’s Senators, John Thune and Mike Rounds, both voted for this effort to defund water infrastructure improvements for Flint and other American cities. They also voted for a separate amendment to defund enforcement of the Clean Water Act. Luckily, that amendment also failed.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid puts the votes of Thune, Rounds, and their party in proper persepctive:

Republicans have proven once again that they are willing to turn their backs on the people of Flint. Every time the Senate comes close to a bipartisan compromise to help children suffering from lead poisoning, Republicans find an excuse to back away. Today, Republicans voted to remove a funding source for legislation to tackle Flint’s water crisis without offering a single dime to clean their poisoned water.  More than 100,000 people – including 9,000 children under the age of six – have been poisoned in the city of Flint, and it is unconscionable that Republicans would attempt to deny them the support they desperately need.

Sadly, Republicans are happy to attack clean energy programs to please the Koch brothers, but they remain unwilling to lift a finger to help the people of Flint. I call on Republicans to end this unwarranted obstruction and protect the people of Flint and millions throughout the nation [Senator Harry Reid, press release, 2016.04.21].

Mike Rounds
Senator Mike Rounds

A natural disaster floods Mike Rounds and his country-club pals out of the houses they built in the Missouri River flood plain, and Senator Rounds goes all trumpety-boo demanding government action to better protect him from dangerous water. But a hundred thousand Americans get lead poisoning from bad water, and he and John Thune vote as if the federal government has no business meddling in folks’ water woes.

37 Responses to Thune, Rounds Vote to Kill Funding to Fix Flint’s Water

  1. Michigan has enough money in its coffers to cover the flint water fiasco. Congress should not provide money to enable a GOP party governor and his GOP party legislature to hoard money they have and avoid financial responsibility for a problem they created. Uncle Sam needs to give Michigan’s governor some tough love and tell him to spend his own money to fix his own problem.

  2. Michigan is much like South Dakota in so many ways. Both states have surpluses that is for sure, but the people of Flint cannot wait on crooked republican politicians to care for their needs. The governor of Michigan is just like Daugaard, they could care less if the poor live or die. That leaves us, the taxpayers to have the compassion to understand suffering. One day we will get to repay these leaders with an appropriate response to their utter disdain for humanity.

  3. Barnett Hall AAU youth wrestling at NSU and Coach Rockey have smeared Indian wrestling in a town that is home to Aberdeen Area IHS, a tremendous federal budget supplement to the county, much like EAFB in RCSD.

    Same story as EB5 and MCEC. Common denominator is republican corrupt leadership at all levels.

    same story on the national level. republicans have obstructed and squandered 8 years of reparative democratic effort and now think calling Hillary a crooked female Clinton will save them. EIGHT MORE YEARS should put a stake thru the heart of the republican monster, regardless of KOCHS, LIMBAUGH AND MURDOCH’S miserable greed.

  4. Paul Seamans

    I feel that the day when people can pollute our drinking water with no repercussions is coming to an end. The Flint water crisis has brought this issue to the forefront.

    In the latest issue of The Furrow, John Deere’s magazine, is an article about the city of Des Moines suing three water districts for draining nitrates into Des Moines’ drinking water. The significant thing here is that a farming magazine is publishing an article about farmers being largely responsible for fouling other people’s water supply. If Des Moines prevails in this suit it will have an effect across the entire country.

  5. 8 more years of what leslie? The last 8 got us Short Rounds as a newby to go with Thune and NOem. The rest of the congress is republican controlled complete. We need 8 years of culling the current friggin herd as a starter.

  6. owen reitzel

    Thune and Rounds trying to impress the far right

  7. totally with u jerry! big dem wins in 2016 will usher in another 8 years of progress nationally and help cull the SDGOP herd as u say. although this is “Alabama”. old neil said

  8. mike from iowa

    Since I’m guessing the majority of Flint’s residents and children are minorities, I doubt even a fetus stood a chance of compassion from whitey wingnuts. koch brother’s brand of children is a whole other ballgame.

  9. Great story! I especially like the ending paragraph which sums up GOP obstruction and bigotry. I see no excuse for voting for either Mike Rounds or John Thune.

  10. jerry i’m confident dems will take the presidency and the senate. garland and RBG’s eventual replacement will help to repair SCOTUS partisan clucks from Thomas, scalia .

    the house. they’ll burn it down in their religious ostrich rage.

  11. mike from iowa

    I see no excuse for voting for either Mike Rounds or John Thune.

    Wingnut campaign slogan-we don’t need no excusers to vote for these losers.

  12. MfI, it might not be racist at all in Flint, could just be republicans doing what they do to the poor no matter what color they are.

  13. What a pair of losers! I hope South Dakota does not need anything.

  14. mike from iowa

    Good link,Tim.I like Mr Pitts.He is much more pragmatic than me. Looks like wingnuts got a twofer in Flint. Still, it is almost a lead pipe cinch that race plays a major part in whitey wingnuts decisions.

  15. No doubt Mike, but when it comes to poor needy people, republicans are equal opportunity assholes.

  16. Roger Cornelius

    When I read this headline, my immediate thought was Blizzard Atlas.

    Watching CSPAN I saw Noem, Thune, and Rounds begging for federal intervention when the storm. Since there were no human casualties, they wanted government help for cows.

    Rors is right, like Michigan South Dakota has huge cash reserves, so why didn’t South Dakota tap those nest eggs to help state citizens rather than depend on federal welfare

    If the senate is going to practice tough love, it needs to be equitable.

  17. “I have never been more worried about the Republican Party breaking apart than I am today.”

    Lindsy Graham then said Trump’s rise… means people are tired of “big-government liberalism.”[these guys (republicans) can be honest and say anything with out spinning it.]

    this dishonesty in politics renders it meaningless and misrepresentative. “big government liberalism”, what a farce!

    these spokesmen of the GOP might as well be doing heavy disorienting drugs.

    “What we have to do as Republicans is offer an alternative that’s common sense, that people can understand, that’s hopeful and optimistic, not hateful,” he said. “I pray the Republican Party can nominate somebody that can beat [Democratic presidential front-runner] Hillary Clinton….”

    , because if she wins we’re going to have a third term of Barack Obama


  18. these guys “can’t” be…

  19. Porter Lansing

    Rorschach – You’re exactly right but you don’t know why. Every month we liberals in our liberal states reach into our paychecks and send money to South Dakota so you Republicans can pay your bills. We don’t complain and we don’t demand that you raise your taxes and pay your own way. We do ask that you have sensitivity for those with less in the way USA has sensitivity for South Dakota and continually helps you out because you can’t make it without our help and our federal welfare.

  20. Charles Patterson

    Would they vote the same way if the situation was true in Pierre or Sioux Falls, SD?

  21. So then, how do we know how much money the state of South Dakota actually has? Where is it? How can it be accessed? Do you actually believe in what a state would tell you that was deemed so crooked by the Federal government that they do not want to do any kind of business with? The fact that the State of South Dakota has lost 120 million to Joop that they cannot seem to find. A fire proof safe in Platte that somehow completely melted and these guys can say they have a surplus? Unbelievable. Thanks to all 49 states and also you territories, for your tax money. We will try to pave a mile or two of beaten up roads, maybe repair a bridge and keep paying the LT. Governor his tithe, all is well here.

  22. Porter Lansing

    But, alas SoDak. No need to worry about Flint. When Ted Cruz is President all federal aid to your state will be cut off and you will get to prove how you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps and apply those German values to helping yourself. And don’t be complaining or we’ll build a wall around the state and cut off your internet so we don’t have to see you begging for more federal welfare. “Brought to you by your TrusTed campaign committee” (The first half of a slogan appearing in Cruz campaign material, “TrusTed,” is actually an acronym for a medical device used for anal ultrasounds and SoDak will be first in line.)


  24. Pro-life South Dakotans are okay with fed funding when it benefits them, but F#%k the 9,000 poor poisoned Flint children. You kiddos are on your own.

    So did Rounds rebuild his house by the river?

  25. owen reitzel

    another program that our congressional delegation has been slow to act on and it’s been brought out by the Mitchell Daily Republic-the EB-5 program.
    I think we know why Rounds hasn’t done anything.

  26. mike from iowa

    After all these years of nothingness from Marlboro Barbie and Noem
    you were actually expecting action from the guy up to his eyeballs in EB-5 chicanery?

    I have some magic beans to sell you.

  27. If your self-righteous nephew wrecked his car drunk driving would you reach into your pocket and buy him a new car, Uncle Porter? Or would you tell him to man up and accept responsibility?

    GOP party welfare states take money that blue states pay to the federal government all the while criticizing the federal government and bragging about their own (nonexistent) fiscal discipline. If the federal government would stop borrowing money and giving it as handouts to such GOP party hypocrites those hypocrites would have to start either taxing their own people to pay for their needs and wants or using their own hoarded stash of money for their own needs and wants. A city water system being mismanaged by a state government with $500 million in the bank is not something the federal government should pony up for. The same GOP party that created the mess needs to spend its own money to fix the mess. The federal government should not be some bottomless pit of money tapped for every city, county and state expense.

  28. Porter Lansing

    USA borrows money because Republicans won’t pay their fair share. That’s why we’re in debt, not because the fed’s step in and remedy a situation the Republicans created by selfish tax rates and are too selfish to address. Standing by and watching young children drink lead filled water is cruel.

  29. So you believe the federal government should be a source of free money to cover city, county and state expenses for irresponsible Republicans. Got it.

    The federal government provided emergency relief for Flint. The cost of the fix ought to be bourne by those who created the problem – who just so happen to be able to afford it. Federal taxpayers have no more business bailing out lower levels of government with emergency money in their bank accounts, than federal taxpayers have bailing out millionaires who build mansions in the flood plain.

  30. I wish Democrats would take a minute to think about how much more money would be available to direct at true federal priorities if they plugged the millions of leaks in the federal budget where money gets siphoned away for every city, state and local expense. The federal government is like the person who makes $3,000 a month and blows it buying piddly stuff on his credit card and doesn’t have enough left over to pay the mortgage. Where’d it go? $150 to Starbucks. $150 fast food. $200 gas. $500 clothing. $500 beer/nights out. $300 cigarettes. $200 cell phone. $700 car payment. $300 who the f&%^ knows? “Damn boy, you ain’t got no rent money left.” That’s the federal government right now.

  31. jay Williams and paula hawks : new polling this week that suggests Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire is suddenly locked in a dead heat with challenger Maggie Hassan—and her part in the continued obstruction of Garland’s hearing is a factor in her new struggles. slate, today

  32. One political party is threatening to break the court, and also threatening the chief justice if he doesn’t align with them and—in the midst of such threats—blaming him for blowing up the whole institution. The other political party is trying to confirm a judge; a good judge who believes poor people should have lawyers.

  33. It is not so much that I disagree with you Mr. Rorschbach in many ways, it is just that I do not believe Michigan or for that matter, South Dakota has the money to do what you claim should be done. I think that the so called surplus that is blathered about by these same fiscal crooks, is really something like an annuity that gets paid out piecemeal. Case in point, in our insistent drive towards war, our soldiers sometimes pay the ultimate cost. They have a life insurance policy that normally is $400,000.00 if they are killed. The insurance company does not pay the family a lump sum but instead pays them a portion of that money over several years as the insurance company does not have the money to do so in a lump sum in the event of claims. Support for the troops is kind of like a jock strap, it is only used when you are in the game.

    Michigan, like South Dakota gives tax breaks and these crooked TIF’s that drain the supply of ready cash to the point that there is none. Ask the state to see your money and they will show you a piece of paper with some numbers on it, no cash, just smoke.

  34. Well Yes! Killer Rounds didn’t his name because he was above allowing people to die. Shoe Shiner John Thune is a professional shoe shine boy for the Koch brothers. I am surprised Kristi the Noem didn’t “speed” on over to the senate to put her two-cents worth in on this subject. Lets face it folks, these republicants have pretty much bled South Dakotans dry and are just looking for new territory to continue stealing. So lets keep voting these repukes in to govern us. We are all pretty much broke now so how much more damage can they do to us? Hope these clowns don’t talk with Sammy Brownback from Kansas anytime soon.

  35. mike from iowa

    Human vultures are everywhere and willing to hurt anyone at anytime in any possible way.

    An interesting aside-Gallup.New Mexico has 3 payday lenders for every fast food restaurant. Help from the fed may be on the way.

  36. Speaking of vultures, how long do you think it will be in the first term before your social security and medicare are once again put on the chopping block? If you say Clinton would never do such a thing, wrong If you say Trump, Cruz or Sidekick would do no such thing, wrong again. Wall Street will not rest until you cannot.

  37. mike from iowa

    Ror-correct me if I am wrong,but isn’t the US congress,the states of Michigan and South Dakota run by wingnuts who ultimately control the purse strings? Why not blast those in control of spending for a change. Blast the party of no,the party of no taxes,the party of benefit the wealthy at all costs before you blast the one party that would willingly rebuild our infrastructure if wingnuts got out of their obstructionist way.