WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senate Republicans introduced the Interior and Environment subcommittee spending bill Tuesday. The proposal fails to increase funding levels for either the Clean Water or Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. The Senate’s spending bill differs from those introduced by the House, which included an additional $11 billion for water infrastructure to prevent sewage overflows and drinking water contamination from lead and other sources.
The two chambers will now negotiate a final budget to fund the government before the continuing resolution, which is funding the government at Fiscal Year 2020 levels, expires on Dec. 11. A recent poll indicated that, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, 84 percent of Americans support investment in water infrastructure.
Environment America Clean Water Advocate Laura Miller issued the following statement:
“Our water infrastructure urgently needs federal funding to safeguard our drinking water and protect America’s waterways from billions of gallons of sewage overflows. Solving this problem is one that every American -- regardless of political affiliation -- can agree on. Knowing this, our elected officials must take this rare opportunity to boldly bring our country together to improve water infrastructure.
“Earlier this year, the House approved an unprecedented $11 billion in additional clean water funding. That sort of commitment would stop billions of gallons of sewage overflows and widespread drinking water contamination. It doesn’t solve everything, but it is a key step toward meeting the $271 billion of funding that the Environmental Protection Agency estimates will be needed for wastewater infrastructure over the next 20 years. The Senate’s proposal turns a blind eye to this necessity.
“Fortunately, the two chambers have a chance to compromise on what goes into the final budget. In doing so, they must listen to their constituents and recognize that every community, no matter their demographic, needs clean water. We urge Congress to come together in support of clean water investments that will protect public health and our environment.”