Bill to Revise the Safe Drinking Water Act Goes to House Floor
Jun 28, 2021
Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 32-24 to move forward a bill that revises the “Safe Water Drinking Act” by proposing $105 billion over 10 years to update and rebuild the country’s drinking water system, including $45 billion to replace lead pipes throughout the country. H.R. 3291 would also authorize $53 billion over 10 years for a critical state drinking water financing program, the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.
The bill is expected to be incorporated into the larger infrastructure package moving through Congress right now. Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY), the lead sponsor of the bill, shared that “water affordability is becoming a growing challenge for many American families. And as our water systems continue to fall into disrepair and have added financial stresses of leaks and main breaks, these issues will only get worse.” He went on to comment that “Congress provided short-term relief in recent COVID packages, but I believe we must look to establish a permanent program at EPA, similar to how the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps families with critical heating and cooling energy costs.”
As the bill advances to the House floor, Senators continue to negotiate on an overall infrastructure plan with the White House. Originally, President Biden announced a four-part, eight-year plan that includes $621 billion for transportation and $650 billion for initiatives tied to improving public safety and accessibility to essential services, such as clean water and high-speed broadband investment. The proposal also includes $580 billion for strengthening American manufacturing, $180 billion of which is proposed as investment in non-defense research and development. More recently however, the Senate has proposed to the White House a $559 billion bipartisan bill that includes compromises.
ASME will continue to monitor the infrastructure package as it continues to advance through Congress.