Michigan Democrats seek up to $600 million for Flint water crisis
Authorities in Michigan have been dealing with a major health crisis over lead-contaminated water that arose from cost-cutting measures implemented in the city of Flint, home to some 100,000 people (AFP)

Three Michigan members of Congress said on Thursday they will seek up to $600 million in federal emergency funding to address the Flint water crisis.

Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters and Rep. Dan Kildee of Flint said they will offer an amendment to a pending Senate Energy bill that would provide up to $400 million to replace or fix lead pipes and other water infrastructure issues. The proposal would require the state of Michigan to match any federal funding awarded.

"There needs to be a sense of urgency to get this done," Stabenow told reporters on a conference call.

The proposal would also direct $200 million in federal funds for a Center for Excellence on Lead Exposure to focus on immediate and long term needs of children. It would also require the Environmental Protection Agency to warn the public of high lead levels in drinking water if a state fails to do so.

It is not clear if Senate Republicans will support the funding amendment that will formally be introduced Monday.

"We need resources," Kildee said.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is planning a hearing on Feb. 3 on the Flint water crisis but has not released a witness list.

On Wednesday, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder named a group of government officials, health and other experts to implement long-term fixes for Flint's lead-contaminated water system, which has become a national scandal.

Snyder has asked the state legislature to approve $28 million in immediate funding to address the crisis, but said he plans to seek additional money. The state Senate approved the funding on Thursday.

Snyder, a Republican, also said he wanted the Medicaid social health care program to be expanded to cover all Flint children.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Alistair Bell)