Florida Senator and presidential contender Marco Rubio told reporters Monday night that he has not been “focusing on” the lead contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, which has left tens of thousands of residents without drinkable water and with possibly irreversible damage to their health.
While admitting to not know much about the situation, Rubio did say he believes the federal government should stay out it.
“I’d love to give you a better answer on it,” Rubio said. “It’s just not an issue we’ve been quite frankly fully briefed or apprised of in terms of the role the governor has played and the state has played in Michigan on these sorts of issues.”
Rubio went on to say that he’s unable to give “a deeply detailed answer on what the right approach should be, other than to tell you that in general I believe the federal government’s role in some of these things [is] largely limited unless it involves a federal jurisdictional issue.”
Yet Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) asked the Obama Administration last week to declare a federal emergency and send millions of dollars in aid to buy residents bottled water, water filters, and lead-testing kids. The federal government has approved $5 million in aid so far, and says they will send more if necessary. Snyder, who is now facing a class action lawsuit from Flint residents, had also requested $96 million and the designation of a “major disaster declaration.”
Though other Republican candidates have been silent on the issue, the two leading Democratic candidates brought it up during Sunday night’s debate, framing it as not only a serious health crisis but an question of racial justice.
Sen. Bernie Sanders thinks Gov. Snyder should resign.
To read more, see the originally published article on ThinkProgress.