Rep. Josh Gottheimer used the first day of classes at Hackensack High School to promote the need for the bipartisan infrastructure bill that will invest $1 billion in New Jersey to insure clean water to the residents of the 5th District.
The congressman highlighted that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to be voted on in the House later this month will replace lead pipes and service lines, combat forever chemicals harming local water supplies, and improve water infrastructure.
“This investment will directly make progress on the concerns that I regularly hear from parents — that the water they and their children are consuming may not be safe,” said Gottheimer on Sept. 8. “We cannot afford to take these risks with our kids and students; the stakes are simply too high. We have to ensure these harmful substances are filtered out of our families’ water.”
According to the North Jersey lawmaker, the Garden State has 350,000 lead service lines and pipes contaminating drinking water. Nationwide, there are up to 10 million American households and 400,000 schools and childcare centers lacking safe drinking water.
“Investment from the bipartisan infrastructure bill will go toward the replacement of lead service lines—which connect water mains to a home or school,” stated Gottheimer. “(These) investment will go toward emergencies involving lead in drinking water, assistance for small communities, like those in Sussex and Warren Counties, and of course, help for schools across the Fifth Congressional District.”
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School officials explained that exposure to lead can have a severe impact on children, stunting development, causing learning disabilities, hearing loss, seizures, and irreversible harm to brain development, the nervous system, and vital organs.
Support from Hackensack Officials
“It has been well established that lead is a toxic metal that can be harmful to human health. This is especially true for children due to their developing brains and nervous system,” said Hackensack Public Schools Superintendent Robert Sanchez. “Studies have shown that even small amounts of lead exposure can increase the risk of developmental effects. This is why it is extremely important that the bipartisan infrastructure bill be passed now to decrease the risk of lead exposure for our school community and our youngest learners.”
“The time for safe drinking water for all is now! We can no longer wait.”
Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse praised Gottheimer for driving the infrastructure bill forward and urged the House to pass the infrastructure bill.
Addressing Parental Concerns
“The health and safety of our families is of the utmost importance. The passage of this bill will guarantee us safe drinking water for generations to come,” said Labrosse.
“This investment will directly make progress on the concerns that I regularly hear from parents — that the water they and their children are consuming may not be safe,” added the Congressman.
Besides ensuring safe drinking water, Gottheimer promoted the bipartisan infrastructure bill including critical resources to help address climate disasters like the one caused by Tropical Storm Ida that caused historic damage and flooding as well as providing provides critical resources to fix North Jersey’s crumbling roads, bridges, transit, and rail, build the Gateway Tunnel, and invest in electric vehicles and broadband.
Dem Leadership Support
Gottheimer is confident the bill will move forward with a vote in the House due to clear public commitments from congressional leadership, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Leader of the House Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) to get the votes.
“(We have) in black and white print in a legislative rule that all Democrats voted for — Congress will be voting on that infrastructure bill by Sept. 27,” stated the third term lawmaker. “That bill, which passed the Senate overwhelmingly with the support of fifty Democrats in the Senate and 19 Republicans, will go to the President’s desk this month to be signed into law…The bottom line: We simply can’t afford to wait any longer for this infrastructure bill.”