Deal reached to help Flint, keep US gov’t open


WASHINGTON (AP) – Congressional leaders have broken a stalemate over money to address the Flint, Michigan, water crisis, top House aides said Wednesday, clearing the way for a spending bill needed to keep the government running until December. The spending measure also would provide long-delayed money to fight Zika.

The accord is a first step for providing aid to rid Flint of its lead-tainted water.

Aides to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and the chamber’s Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., confirmed the accord early Wednesday. They spoke on condition of anonymity so they could discuss the pact, which has not been announced publicly.

The agreement promises to provide $170 million to help Flint and other cities with water emergencies, the aides said. It would be added as an amendment to a separate water projects bill.

The Ryan aide said the House was expected to vote on the water legislation containing the Flint provision on Wednesday.

The deal between the House leaders promises to free up the short-term spending measure, which had failed to advance in the Senate on Tuesday. That had left lawmakers facing responsibility for a government shutdown at midnight Friday, if they did not act.

The amendment represents a bipartisan agreement to allow language authorizing the funding, but the actual money would await the final House-Senate version of the bill after the November election.

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