The effort to bring federal dollars into Flint to help them deal with the Republican-made catastrophe that poisoned their drinking water with the powerful neurotoxin lead has been long and arduous, primarily because Republicans themselves did everything they could to make the path long and arduous. First, it took nearly a year for Republican members of Congress to even pass the legislation, despite the dire need and national attention being focused on the shameful situation. Finally, the last bill President Obama signed sent $100 million in funding to the beleaguered city.
This past week, the State House finally got around to approving the transfer of funds but not before turning the funding into a political football and then botching the legislation to make it happen:
The Flint water crisis funding has been held up for nearly a month as the Republican-led House and Senate debated what form of assistance to send Macomb County, which is working to fix the Fraser sinkhole and divert the flow of sewage around a collapsed interceptor.
Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, House Speaker Tom Leonard and Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration struck a deal Wednesday allowing legislators to vote on the Flint funding separately while the state prepares to send Macomb County $3 million in existing funds. […]
The upper chamber on Wednesday voted unanimously to send $100 million in federal funding to Flint, which Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency had awarded the state to help the city replace lead service lines and other water infrastructure.
But House officials detected a problem in the amended Senate legislation so the upper chamber will “do it tomorrow morning correctly,” House spokesman Gideon D’Assandro said.
Yesterday, after nearly a year of waiting on Republicans to get their act together enough to help Flint, the bill finally passed in both the state Senate and the state House which will allow the important federal dollars to reach the victims of the crisis. If you thought that this had unanimous support, you thought wrong. One Republican, Steven Johnson from the 72nd State House district just south of Grand Rapids, voted against it. Johnson, who hates the government, cosponsored an “anti-Sharia law” bill, and believes that constitutional lawyer, President Obama, “does not believe in the U.S. Constitution”, was the lone vote against the legislation.
This move is in stark contrast to Johnson’s statement about his personal beliefs on his State House webpage:
Steve’s Christian beliefs shape his worldview. Every vote he takes in Lansing will reflect these values. He is passionate about shrinking government, defending the rights of the unborn and protecting religious liberty.
This is just the sort of Christian hypocrisy that has soured so many people on openly religious lawmakers. They wrap themselves in the U.S. flag and hold the Bible in their hands as they work to harm the most vulnerable people in our society. But to vote against helping Flint after they have waited this long for some relief is unconscionable.
I think Johnson’s position and vote on this is best characterized a statement a former roommate of his made in a bio posted in the The Collegian, the newspaper of Hillsdale College, Johnson’s alma mater, during his campaign:
“He’s not heavy on the thinking side of politics,” Lafountain said. “He’s more into getting out there.”
“Not heavy on the thinking side of politics” and “out there”. I couldn’t agree more.