WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), today spoke on the Senate floor in support of S. 914, the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (DWWIA), bipartisan legislation to invest in our nation’s water infrastructure.
The legislation would be the first infrastructure bill approved by the Senate this Congress, and the first bill passed by Congress to advance the goals of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan. The legislation has broad support from bipartisan congressional leaders, the Biden White House, environmental advocates, business leaders, and labor unions.
ADVANCING ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
“More than 40 percent of this bill’s investments are targeted to help disadvantaged communities. The bill authorizes more than a billion in new funding to reduce lead in drinking water. And particularly for our country’s rural areas, tribal populations, and low-income neighborhoods, our bill invests another billion into programs to connect households to drinking water and wastewater systems and services…The legislation grows the Tribal Drinking Water Program by 20 percent and reforms programs to help tribal education agencies remove lead from their drinking water systems.”
BUILDING CLIMATE-RESILIENT INFRASTRUCTURE
“This legislation builds back better by fortifying water infrastructure for our new and worsening climate reality. Ours is a future that promises more severe weather events like hurricanes, floods, droughts and bitterly cold weather. It is a future with more and more people living on the front lines of sea level rise—like my home State of Delaware, the lowest-lying state in the nation. To that end, the bill provides a combined $500 million to make our water infrastructure systems more resilient and adaptable in the face of extreme weather events. Within that historic investment is a new $125 million program which will—for the first time—provide grants to communities seeking to fortify their wastewater systems against climate change’s impacts.”
CREATING JOBS AND STRENGTHENING THE ECONOMY
“With our eyes focused on the future, this bill expands government’s role in researching and developing the water technologies of tomorrow. By investing in technologies to improve stormwater control and waste management, we can help American companies export innovation. This is not just a bill to spend and build, but legislation that will direct our agencies to build and spend more wisely. We know that investment in innovation, as envisioned in this bill before us, can have a profound impact on our economy, creating jobs and fostering growth for our entire nation. We can, in short, seize opportunity in the face of so much adversity.”
WORKING ACROSS THE AISLE FOR BIPARTISAN ACHIEVEMENTS
“We know that access to safe, reliable and healthful water isn’t a blue state or a red state issue…I oftentimes say that bipartisan solutions are lasting solutions. That’s how I think we should approach almost all of our work here in the Senate—by reaching out to our colleagues across the aisle to create lasting solutions to the problems facing our nation. The bill before us today is a product of that partnership. This legislation is the result of tireless, dedicated work by Ranking Member Capito and our staffs. I want to thank them and every member of our committee all for their outstanding, bipartisan work over the last several months.”
Watch Senator Carper’s full floor remarks here.