Pelosi, House Democrats to Travel to Flint on Fact-Finding Mission

PHOTO: Michigan National Guard Specialist Lonnie Walker unloads bottled water and filters to distribute to residents, Jan. 21, 2016, in Flint, Mich. PlayPaul Sancya/AP Photo
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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and about two dozen House Democrats will travel to Flint, Michigan, later this week to meet with victims of the city's ongoing water crisis.

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The visit comes ahead of the Democratic presidential debate in Flint on Sunday between Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, the latter of whom has made the plight of Flint's residents a focus of her primary campaign.

"We’re going to continue to beat the drums to bring awareness to this," said Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Michigan, of the Democrats' focus on the crisis.

The trip, which will include members of the Congressional Black and Progressive Caucuses and the Michigan delegation, will help with the ongoing debate in Congress over federal funding proposals to address problems with the city's infrastructure.

Pelosi and the House Democrats will hold a town hall with Flint residents, marking their first time meeting with a large group of members of Congress.

"Our focus is the people of Flint," said Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. "Our focus is to listen to these folks, to hear what they have to tell us, and use this information to formulate the best proposal to help them."

Some Democrats are calling on Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, to resign over the water crisis. Snyder will appear in Washington later this month to testify on the state's response to the crisis.

But Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wisconsin, said it's "more important that we fix the water than go backwards and assign the blame."

While Senate leaders have reached an agreement on a bipartisan deal that would help Flint and other cities replace lead pipes that have put local populations at risk, the Senate has not yet voted on the proposal.