Lydia Howell

The issue is that this situation is completely outside the jurisdiction of the president. The president can sign bills into law, veto bills, convene congress, greet ambassadors, grant reprieves and pardons and command the armed forces. He can also use executive orders to suggest that existing laws be interpreted and upheld in certain ways but if there are no existing laws to use he can’t help Flint in this way. I understand your frustration- the government REALLY needs to do something about this, but the branch that can is Congress and they can’t seem to come to an agreement on the matter. This makes me angry, personally. You should be mad at Congress too- members of both the house and senate can’t seem to get over their own individual agendas and come together to do something. Although even that rage may be slightly misplaced- the people with the most power to help at this point is the state government and they are also not doing anything.

You are right to be angry. And you are probably right in that the president will be blamed for this even though he cannot actually legally do anything about it more than he’s already done. You are also correct in that if it had been terrorists that poisoned the water he would have had the power to send us to war- but that’s because that actually is a power granted to the president by the constitution. Fixing contaminated water is not. Jailing those responsible is not — although many people have been charged with felonies relating to the cover up of the crisis. He can ask Congress to work together on this — and he has- but he can’t make them listen. That’s how our government works.

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