Emma Foehringer Merchant

Briefly

Stuff that matters

Let's make a deal

Lawmakers finally agreed on Flint aid, 363 days after residents were told to stop drinking their water.

This week, Congress has worked overtime on a bill to keep the government from shutting down on Friday. The debate over government funding came down to whether Congress would send aid to lead-poisoned Flint, Michigan.

Democrats, who wanted a guarantee of help for the city before lawmakers left for recess, demanded that Republicans give an “iron-clad commitment” to include money in a separate bill, the Water Resources Development Act.

And they got it. The House passed a version of that water bill Wednesday with $170 million for Flint included.

The $170 million will go to water infrastructure repairs, like replacing Flint’s lead pipes. Lawmakers also included over $1 billion for combatting the spread of Zika in the spending bill. Overcoming conservative protests, Planned Parenthood clinics in hard-hit Puerto Rico will get a chunk of the Zika money and $397 million will go to vaccine research.

The whole rigmarole was just a regular day for Congress. House Speaker Paul Ryan called Wednesday’s maneuvering and compromise “a low-drama moment.”