Harris touts removal and replacement of lead pipes funded by Infrastructure Act

Speaking Monday at a nonprofit in Milwaukee, Vice President Kamala Harris highlighted the $15 billion Infrastructure Act that will fund the removal and replacement of all lead pipes nationwide. within a decade. (Mark Hoffman/Associated Press)

Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Wisconsin on Monday to explain how the bipartisan infrastructure law passed last year allows authorities to improve drinking water by removing lead pipes, saying such action is a “moral imperative”.

Speaking at a nonprofit in Milwaukee, Harris pointed to the $15 billion infrastructure measure that will fund the removal and replacement of all lead pipes nationwide within a decade. The Environmental Protection Agency has already announced the release of $3 billion that will allow states to begin work, Harris said.

Harris touted the projects as a job creator and a public health effort. Ten million homes and 400,000 schools and nurseries have lead pipes. Exposure to lead in drinking water has been linked to many health problems, including increased blood pressure and decreased kidney function.

Lead can cause “irreparable damage to the body and brain,” Harris said.

“Our children go to school where they potentially drink lead-infused and toxic water from water fountains,” Harris added. “The only solution here is to get rid of the lead in our pipes, in our paintwork, and the exposure that our children and families are currently experiencing.”

Since President Biden signed the bipartisan $1 trillion bill in November, Biden and Harris have been aggressively selling his plans, hoping to highlight legislative achievement before the midterm elections. Harris has given speeches promoting aspects of the measure in California, North Carolina, Ohio, New Hampshire and Nevada.

Harris and Biden had also hoped to campaign this year on passage of suffrage bills and a major social and environmental spending package. These bills are stalled in the Senate.

Democrats, however, won strong Republican support for the infrastructure deal — 13 in the House and 19 in the Senate, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, voted for the legislation. Republicans opposed to the legislation said it was too big, poorly linked to the broader spending plan, and failed to address appropriate infrastructure needs.

The White House promoted the law as job-creating and said it would fund repairs to aging bridges and roads, expand high-speed internet access, and mitigate wildfires and other natural disasters throughout the country. The act will also fund the removal of lead paint in federally subsidized housing, tribal housing and other low-income communities.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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