Representatives García, Pressley Introduce Legislation to Remove Lead Pipes from Public and Subsidized Housing

April 14, 2021
Press Release
“All families have the right to clean water, no matter where they live.”

WASHINGTON, D.C.  Representatives Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), and 37 Members of Congress today reintroduced the Lead Abatement for Families Act,  a bill that requires the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to identify and remove lead pipes in public and federally assisted housing. The bill was discussed today in a House Committee on Financial Services Committee hearing focused on the need to invest in housing infrastructure.

As many as ten million homes in the U.S. get their water from lead pipes, and federally assisted housing is particularly impacted: the National Housing Law Project found that one fifth of U.S. children with lead poisoning-- about 90,000 children-- are participants in the Housing Choice Voucher Program (“Section 8”). A 2015 study determined that by the third grade, children in Chicago with even small amounts of lead in their blood were more than 32% more likely to fail standardized tests.

“All families have the right to clean water, no matter where they live or the color of their skin. This is a matter of racial and economic justice and must be addressed as soon as possible,” said Rep. Garcia. “We’ve known about the health risks posed by lead pipes for decades. Still, Latino and Black families who make up a disproportionate number of those living in publicly assisted housing, still rely on lead service lines for clean drinking water. I’m glad the Financial Services Committee addressed this issue today and I urge Congress to act quickly to pass this bill to save lives in communities like mine.”

 “Housing is a fundamental human right, and as Congress moves to invest in the nation’s infrastructure, housing justice must remain front and center,” said Rep. Pressley. “Our bill would help ensure that public housing in the Massachusetts 7th and nationwide is safe, healthy and lead pipe-free, and address the injustices that have exposed families living in public and federally-assisted housing to lead poisoning—resulting in disproportionately worse health outcomes for Black, brown, and low-income communities. I’m grateful to Congressman García for his partnership and leadership in this effort.”

The Lead Abatement for Families Act:

  • Requires HUD to identify all public housing and federally assisted housing units with lead services lines within 2 years and report its findings to Congress;
  • Authorizes HUD to make grants to public housing agencies and owners of federally assisted housing to cover eligible costs of removing and replacing lead pipes;
  • Authorizes funds for grants: $90 million for FY2022, $80 million for FY2023 and $80 million for FY2024.

Co-sponsors of this bill include Representatives Auchincloss, Barragán, Beatty, Blumenauer, Bonamici, Bowman, Carson, Cicilline, Cohen, Davis (IL), Dingell, Espaillat, Hayes, Higgins, Jayapal, Jacobs, Jones (NY), Lee (CA), Lynch, McGovern, Meng, Moore, Newman, Norton, Ocasio-Cortez, Payne, Quigley, Rush, Schakowsky, Sewell, Sires, Tlaib, Torres, Vargas, Velázquez, Watson Coleman, and Williams (GA).

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