On Thursday, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a $ 35 billion bill to strengthen state water infrastructure with a bipartisan vote of 89-2.
The only two senators to vote against the drinking water and wastewater infrastructure act were Republicans Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas.
One of the sponsors of the bill, Senator Tom Carper, D-Del., Said that the legislation “foster economic growth, build climate-resilient infrastructure, and help ensure all Americans have access to clean, safe water. “
The bill devotes billions of dollars to modernizing drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects across the country.
Lawmakers have pointed to the 2014 lead contamination crisis in Flint, Mich., And water outages in Texas this winter as evidence of the need for urgent action.
“Millions of Americans do not have constant access to clean drinking water. Many more live in areas where a single storm or natural disaster could devastate fragile and archaic infrastructure, leading to outright disaster.” said the bipartisan Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works. in a statement supporting the bill.
The bill provides nearly $ 30 billion in funding for drinking water and revolving loans for drinking water and an additional $ 6 billion in grants.
“Passing this bill in a bipartisan fashion as we did today shows the American people that their elected officials in Congress can work collaboratively on infrastructure,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito, RW.Va .
The bill is now going to the House of Representatives, where it is not known when it will be considered. Lawmakers have focused on a larger infrastructure package.
President Joe Biden spoke of the need to strengthen the country’s water infrastructure system during his speech to Congress on Wednesday evening.
“Today, up to 10 million homes and more than 400,000 schools and daycares have pipes containing lead, including for drinking water,” Biden said, calling the situation “a clear and current danger to the health of our children ”.