President Biden Highlights Water in Address Before Congress; Senate Takes First Step with Major Water Bill
President Biden delivered his first major address before a joint session of Congress last night to promote the key tenants of his Build Back Better proposal, the American Families Plan, and the American Jobs Plan. He specifically mentioned the importance of clean and safe water for all Americans, and his proposal includes over $100 billion in water infrastructure investment.
Following President Biden’s address, the Senate will take the first step towards putting together a comprehensive infrastructure package as it votes to pass the bipartisan Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 (DWWIA), S. 914, this afternoon. This is an important legislative step that clearly signals Congress is serious about making water a central component of a broader infrastructure push.
NACWA strongly supports this legislation, which authorizes tens of billions of dollars in new federal investment for clean water and drinking water programs. It also authorizes a new U.S. EPA pilot program to develop and implement a low-income water assistance program to help vulnerable households maintain access to affordable water services.
While the exact path forward on how a comprehensive infrastructure bill comes together remains unclear, the immediate focus for clean water now shifts to the House of Representatives where the Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee is working to advance their clean water legislation, the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021, and then begin conference negotiations with the Senate.
NACWA members can help continue to position the water sector for success as part of the next infrastructure bill by advocating to their Senators and Representatives about the importance of including the highest level of water funding possible, especially in the form of direct grants.