Rep. Elijah Cummings begins his soliloquy with his personal relationship to the lead in water issue. Having lived in Baltimore all his life, he knows personally how poorer, urban neighborhoods are more susceptible to the perils of failing to upkeep the infrastructure. Plus,
Congressman Cummings is also a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, serving on both the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation and the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.
He knows how this problem affects the citizens of this country, especially in a poor, largely minority city like Flint, Michigan.
The Maryland Democrat excoriates Michigan Governor Rick Snyder for running the state like a business, and wants to know what would happen if he was the head of
a business that makes lead toys that are poisoning children?
Cummings asks what would happen to the CEO? Cummings answers his own question:
He would be holed up on criminal charges, the board of directors would throw him out and the shareholders would revolt.
The charges relating to this atrocious negligence, to those culpable in the administration, can be as severe as manslaughter. This is the recommendation of the investigative report on Flint.
The Governor's top legal adviser warned, in October 2014, that the city of Flint should get back on the Detroit Water System (abandoning the caustic Flint River), and if they didn't act immediately, 'We'll have some REAL trouble.' Cummings wove an inescapable web for the Governor and he was just sitting there, waiting to be consumed.
Cummings continued with his blistering rebuke:
"The document (special investigation findings) revealed failures at every level. Led by Governor Snyder's hand picked appointees and the Governor's fingerprints are all over this. ...his inner circle of top aides, his press staff, his chief of staff, and of course, the Emergency Managers that the Governor put in charge of Flint.
There will now be an entire generation, an entire generation of children who suffer from brain damage, learning disabilities and many other horrible effects of lead poisoning that were inflicted upon them by Governor Snyder's Administration.
He puts the blame on the Snyder government, not the EPA. It would have been great if the EPA stepped in sooner, but this was absolutely not the fault of the regulatory agency.
"I agree that the EPA should have done more, they should have gone in sooner to rescue the people of Michigan from Governor Snyder's vindictive administration and his utter incompetence at every level."
To drive his point home, he showed the motto Snyder has put forth to 'reinvent' Michigan for the better, except the disclaimer: it's only better for the very rich.