Congressman Tim Ryan Introduces Bill to Invest $100 Billion in Lead Removal Nationwide
Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) today introduced a bill to invest $100 billion to remove lead pipes and lead paint from homes across the United States – which is enough to eliminate every lead pipe in the country and remove lead paint from 7 million American homes. Research indicates that every dollar invested in lead paint hazard control results in a return of $17-$221, positively impacting a wide range of issues including health care costs, lifetime earnings, tax revenue, and special education costs.
The Grants for Eliminating the Toxic Hazard of Environmental Lead in Our Towns (GET THE LEAD OUT) Act establishes a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant program to help states fund eligible activities such as performing risk assessments and inspections, providing interim control and abatement of lead-based pipe hazards, assisting with relocation for families forced to vacate their homes, and educating the public on the risks and causes of lead poisoning. Further, it requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator to establish minimum standards and protocols for authorized state programs, contractor training and certification, lead abatement and measurement, and other lead exposure reduction activities. To view the full text of the bill, click here. A section-by-section summary can be found here.
“The lead in our homes is poisoning our children. The Flint water crisis left an entire community with lead contaminated water for years. Over 9,000 children under age six were exposed to lead, and that doesn’t include the countless other kids and adults affected by this crisis,” said Congressman Ryan. “But this crisis is not just happening in Flint. It is happening in communities, big and small, across the nation. That’s why I introduced the GET THE LEAD OUT Act. A nationwide lead cleanup is critical for our health and well-being and would result in lower health care and special education costs, reduced crime, and billions of dollars in higher lifetime earnings and tax revenue. We cannot allow another generation of Americans to be poisoned by their homes and drinking water. By taking bold action, we can eliminate lead-based hazards wherever they persist.”
Nationwide, as many as 10 million homes get tap water through lead pipes and 35 percent of homes (37 million) are contaminated by lead paint. No amount of lead is considered safe for children, and the damaging effects of lead poisoning are irreversible. This public health crisis is only made worse by our inaction as our nation’s infrastructure continues to age, corrode, and decay. According to the EPA, the average home cost for a lead-based paint removal project is $10,000. An American Water Works Association study finds that it costs $30 billion to replace all lead water pipes in the United States. The $100 billion investment from the GET THE LEAD OUT Act would remove lead paint from nearly 7 million homes and completely replace all lead pipes in the country.
To fund HUD’s lead-based pipe and paint hazard reduction grant programs, the bill authorizes appropriations of $95 billion in federal funds over 10 years with a ten percent match from states, bringing the total amount to over $100 billion. This authorization is paid for by closing the carried interest loophole and restoring the 2017 estate and gift tax basic exclusion amount – which the CBO estimates to generate $14 billion and $83 billion, respectively, in revenue over 10 years.