Michigan Congresswoman Candice Miller has introduced a $1 billion emergency spending bill to replace the water pipes in Flint.
Miller said "government at every level" failed Flint, and the federal government now has a responsibility to help the city.
She likened the need for emergency funds to natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.
"I think it is appropriate for the federal government to stand up since the federal government does have some culpability here through the Environmental Protection Agency," she said in an interview.
She said she doesn't want to create false hope that the money will be appropriated, but she says she's working to get support for the bill.
Miller noted that the U.S. already spends significant money for foreign aid projects, and this time elected officials need to make a domestic crisis a priority.
"One billion dollars for Flint, an American city, American children, American babies, is an appropriate thing," she said. "We cannot turn our back on the people of Flint."
President Obama declared a state of emergency for Flint more than two weeks ago. That provided the city $5 million for 90 days.