Trump said he’d help Flint families and hasn’t. Here’s my plan to do it.

No more broken promises — I’ll invest in water infrastructure and create more support for public health disasters to prevent another crisis

Published in
4 min readJul 10, 2019


As a mother, I can’t imagine the terror I would feel if I found out that the water my sons were drinking and bathing in was poisoned. But it isn’t a parent’s job to ensure their families’ water is safe — that responsibility belongs to their government. Government failed the people of Flint. And so has President Trump.

President Trump’s broken promise

President Trump campaigned in Flint, MI. He walked into town in the thick of the water crisis and boasted a big promise: he’d “turn this around” and restore safe drinking water. Almost three full years later, after being bold enough to make that promise in the face of a complicated crisis, he has failed to deliver.

The aid Flint has received from the federal government didn’t come from President Trump — it came from bills signed by President Obama before the end of his presidency. President Trump promised families a $1 trillion infrastructure plan that was supposed to include water programs, but it was a complete failure because he refused to deliver an actual plan. In fact, President Trump has since proposed a $874 million cut to EPA loan programs that support local water infrastructure in communities like Flint.

The truth is that Flint is just one example of a much larger problem in our country: crumbling water infrastructure. If we want to prevent other communities from experiencing crises like Flint’s, we have to take immediate corrective action.

How I’ll fix it

As president, I’ll work urgently to address our water infrastructure vulnerabilities. I’ll take swift action to support communities experiencing public health crises, while simultaneously raising the standards we hold for water quality in our country. Here’s how:

I’ll amend current law to ensure rapidly available federal disaster funding for crises like Flint.

I’ll work with Congress to amend the Stafford Act to allow disaster declarations in response to man-made crises like Flint’s, which will increase and expedite the emergency funding available in those cases.

And if the courts allow President Trump’s absurd emergency declaration for border wall construction funds to stand, I’ll redirect those wasteful funds to addressing looming water disasters. We’ll rebuild water infrastructure and ensure regular public health monitoring and services to address and prevent actual national emergencies like what happened in Flint.

I’ll guarantee that federal funding is accessible to homeowners and residents with damage to personal property.

Following the amendment to the Stafford Act, public and individual assistance will be made available to impacted communities. Through individual assistance funding, homeowners could replace in-home fixtures damaged by corrosion from tainted water supplies, like their water heaters, faucet fixtures, washing machines, and dishwashers.

I’ll raise the federal standard for safe drinking water

American families shouldn’t have to accept bare-minimum passability when it comes to their water. To truly make clean and safe water a human right, I’ll raise our safety standards by setting a goal of 0 parts per billion (ppb) for tap water. I’ll lower the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule standard for mediation from 15 ppb to 5 ppb and instruct my FDA to lower the standards for safe bottled water from 5 ppb to 0 ppb.

I’ll dedicate $400 billion to build out safe water infrastructure over 10 years.

This money will be provided by increasing funding through the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund and by creating new grants for state, local, and tribal governments and public utilities to fund water infrastructure projects. Projects will include construction and replacement or repair of drinking water infrastructure.

President Trump is throwing billions of taxpayer dollars at non-existent, self-created “emergencies” to rally his base around a racist political agenda. As president, I’ll redirect those dollars to the actual crises American families are facing — and fight to ensure no other families ever have to face them again.



Kirsten Gillibrand

Mom to Theo, Henry and dog Maple. Wife to Jonathan. U.S. Senator from New York. She/her.