The bipartisan infrastructure deal reach last week would, if enacted, fund an ambitious project to replace all of the nation’s lead water pipes, according to White House Press Secretary Jenn Psaki.
“It will put Americans to work replacing 100 percent of our nation’s lead water pipes so that every single American child at home or in school can turn on the faucet and drink clean water,” White House Press Secretary Jenn Psaki told reporters on Monday.
President Joe Biden mentioned the lead pipe replacement project when he promoted the infrastructure deal in an op-ed published on Monday.
“Right here in the U.S., up to 10 million homes and 400,000 schools and childcare centers get their water from lead pipes and service lines.,” Biden wrote. “This agreement will end the threat of lead-contaminated water once and for all, especially in communities of color and in rural America.”
Psaki declined to provide a timeline for the project.
“The details are very important here. It needs to all be written into the final legislation of the bill. But the president is clearly eager to get that done as quickly as possible,” she said.
Exposure to lead can result in developmental defects in fetuses, infants, and young children.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters on Monday that he remains undecided on whether to back the deal due to concerns about how the whole package will be paid for.
McConnell made the remarks at a press conference in Louisville, in response to a reporter asking whether he would support the $1.2 trillion package, which was hammered out last week by 10 senators—five from each party—who met with Biden.
Biden drew the ire of Republicans when, hours after announcing the bipartisan agreement, he said he saw the bill as linked to other legislation Democrats want to push through without Republican support, saying, “if only one comes to me, I’m not signing it. It’s in tandem.”
Several Republicans reacted to Biden’s veto ultimatum—which the president has since walked back—by suggesting they would refuse to back the bipartisan deal if it hinges on the adoption of other Democrat spending priorities.
Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.