Democrats believe they have finally found the leverage they need to force Republicans to approve funding to address the water crisis in Flint, Michigan: historic flooding in Louisiana.

Democrats are pushing for a Senate-passed aid package for Flint to be linked to flood relief funds in a stopgap spending bill that would prevent a government shutdown at the end of the month. Republicans say they want to give the House more time to consider passing funding for Flint, but Democrats have refused to sign off on the spending bill until the issue is resolved.

“We have been trying to fund Flint for I think it’s eight months now,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters Tuesday. “People in Flint are still drinking water out of bottles. They still have children who are sick with lead poisoning. And the Republicans have refused to do anything.”

Flint aid has emerged as one of the final sticking points as negotiators continue to bicker over the remaining details of the stopgap spending bill, which would keep the government funded through Dec. 9 and also provide more $1 billion to combat the Zika virus.


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