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Biden invokes Flint water crisis in infrastructure pitch
President Biden invoked the lead exposure disaster in Flint, Mich., in a Wednesday speech pitching his infrastructure plan, saying there are “hundreds” of similar crises waiting to happen across the country.
“Everybody remembers what happened in Flint, there’s hundreds of Flints all across America,” he said when discussing the part of his plan that aims to eliminate all of the country’s lead pipe and service lines in drinking water systems.
Biden’s remarks come as Democrats and Republicans feud over the size and scope of the infrastructure package, with some GOP lawmakers arguing that the $2.25 trillion proposal goes beyond infrastructure in the strictest sense.
“How many of you know when you send your child to school, the fountain they’re drinking out of is not fed by a lead pipe?” Biden asked. “How many of you know the school your child is in still has asbestos in the walls and lacks the ventilation? Is that not infrastructure?”
In 2014, the Michigan city began to get its water from the Flint River, but the water was corrosive, causing lead from pipes to get leached into the drinking water.
Lead exposure can damage children’s brains and nervous systems. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are an estimated 6 million to 10 million lead service lines in the country.
In the speech on Wednesday, Biden also acknowledged that compromising on the plan overall is “inevitable.”
“We’ll be open to good ideas and good faith negotiations. But here’s what we won’t be open to. We will not be open to doing nothing. Inaction simply is not an option,” he said.
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