Congress is looking into Mississippi’s use of federal monies in the wake of the Jackson water issue.


Jackson, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves of Mississippi is being pressed by two congressional committees to give an account of how the nation’s poorest state is using federal subsidies worth hundreds of millions of dollars even as the majority Black capital city battles with deteriorating water infrastructure.

As part of an investigation by the Homeland Security and Oversight and Reform committees into a safe drinking water crisis that at its height left thousands of Jackson residents without running water this summer, Reps. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., sent the request in a letter to Reeves on Monday.

The primary water purification plant for the city of Jackson malfunctioned after being battered by days of intense rain. Democratic mayor Chokwe Lumumba has previously said that because Republican state authorities haven’t given the city’s outdated water infrastructure any financial support, it isn’t well-positioned to handle concerns from climate change. He predicted that fixing the city’s decades-old water problems could cost billions of dollars.

Thompson, the leader of the Homeland Security Committee and representative for nearly the whole city of Jackson, has previously voiced worries about whether the city is receiving enough federal funding that the state has allotted to it.

He claimed in an interview on Monday that depriving Jackson of the money she needs to guarantee safe drinking water puts lives at danger.

Mississippi is one of many states that completely depends on the federal government’s benevolence, Thompson added. That means that without federal assistance, we really can’t accomplish much for ourselves. The only thing the federal government requires in exchange is that you use those funds without discrimination.

Reeves has been questioned by Thompson and Maloney, the chair of the Oversight and Reform Committee, on the demographics of the areas that have received or are expected to receive federal funding to upgrade their water systems.

They also want to know why Jackson was the only city that required additional oversight from the Legislature in order to get funding under a program for local governments to enhance their water infrastructure.

Maloney and Thompson wrote, “We implore you to act to safeguard the health and safety of Jackson people and direct resources to Jackson immediately to address this life and death crisis.

A Reeves representative chose not to respond directly to the letter and instead pointed to a Monday