Press Release

AFT President Weingarten Thanks Vice President Harris for Highlighting Important Investments in Clean Water; Welcomes Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan

For Release:


Oriana Korin

WASHINGTON—Following an event earlier today at which Vice President Kamala Harris joined Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan and several labor unions in highlighting an action plan with funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act aimed at improving water quality across the nation—including $200 million specifically set aside for addressing lead in schools—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement:

“In the wealthiest country on the planet, no child should go to a public school where the water is unsafe to drink. Lead in pipes is particularly harmful to children: It can stunt growth, impact IQ, and even lead to behavioral challenges. Our nation was horrified by the human-made crisis in Flint, Mich., but there are scores of low-income, rural, Black and brown communities all across the country where children have no choice but to drink contaminated water. 

“Thankfully, the Biden-Harris administration has prioritized making our schools safe, healthy and welcoming for all, providing $15 billion in funding to begin to address the country’s lead pipe problem, with money specifically set aside for public schools. This is an important step forward in our ongoing quest to make every child’s public school experience high-quality, regardless of geography or demography.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.