Jeb Bush: Don’t Blame Governor Snyder For Flint Crisis, Blame Regulations

SOURCEThink Progress

GOP presidential hopeful and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush defended Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) against criticism over his handling of the Flint water crisis on Sunday, arguing instead that the blame should go to the fact that regulations are too complex.

On ABC’s This Week, co-host Martha Raddatz asked Bush who is to blame for the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and the fact that the city of more than 100,000 Americans had been “drinking, eating, brushing their teeth in lead-contaminated water, while the government was telling them repeatedly ‘it’s safe to use.’”

“We’ve created this complex, no responsibility regulatory system, where the federal government, the state government, a regional government, local and county governments are all pointing fingers at one another.” He proposed simply having a “21st century system of rules: Whenever you see a problem, it should become public, there should be transparency instead of trying to cover it up.”

He then praised Synder for having “taken responsibility” and for “rolling up his sleeves and trying to deal with it.” Bush said he should not resign, as he “needs to do what he’s doing, which is to accept responsibility and began to solve the problem,” adding that Snyder has “been a great governor for Michigan.”

Finally, Bush said that instead of “blaming people,” we should be doing what Snyder is doing, creating a strategy to fix it — praise that would seem to contradict his claim moments earlier that the state government was among those “pointing fingers.”

Snyder has come under fire — including a class-action lawsuit — from Flint residents for his slow response to the crisis. Far from being fully transparent, Snyder has released a heavily redacted and apparently incomplete set of emails relating to the contamination problem.

Bush has previously endorsed a massive rollback of environmental regulations — a “regulatory spring cleaning” that would require Congress to individually approve rules and requiring that all new regulatory costs be offset by regulatory savings.

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Josh Israel is a senior investigative reporter for at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Previously, he was a reporter and oversaw money-in-politics reporting at the Center for Public Integrity, was chief researcher for Nick Kotz’s acclaimed 2005 book Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Laws that Changed America, and was president of the Virginia Partisans Gay & Lesbian Democratic Club. A New England-native, Josh received a B.A. in politics from Brandeis University and graduated from the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia, in 2004. He has appeared on CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox News, Current TV, and many radio shows across the country.