With Major Infrastructure Legislation on the Horizon, Whitehouse, Schumer, Cohen, and McKinley Introduce Bipartisan Tax Credit to Protect Children From Home Lead Hazards
Bill could help remediate more than one million houses and apartments while creating over 62,000 temporary jobs
Washington, D.C. – With lead hazards lurking in about 3.6 million homes of families with young children nationwide, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN-09), and Representative David McKinley (R-WV-01) today introduced bipartisan legislation to help American families cover the cost of eliminating lead from their homes. The Home Lead Safety Tax Credit Act of 2021 would significantly broaden the national response to this public health challenge by providing refundable tax credits for homeowners, landlords, and tenants to remove lead from homes.
The bill could help remediate more than one million houses and apartments while creating over 62,000 temporary jobs, according to an estimate from the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative.
“We’ve known about the dire effects of lead on the health of young children for decades. It is tragic that lead hazards still linger in older homes in Rhode Island and across the country because of the high costs of lead remediation. Our tax credit would go a long way toward finally removing lead from those homes once and for all,” said Senator Whitehouse, who has a long history of fighting lead contamination. While serving as Rhode Island Attorney General in 1999, Whitehouse initiated legal action to hold lead paint manufacturers accountable for the hazards of their products.
“Lead poisoning is an irreversible, preventable tragedy that robs many families and children of their future. We need to do everything we can to eliminate this hazardous lead from American homes, which are vulnerable because so many were built before 1978 when lead paint was banned,” said Senator Schumer. “These new federal tax credits will help America’s families and communities cover the cost of removing lead hazards in their homes and protect the health of their children. We need to act now and we need to act fast to get toxic lead out of our homes and address this concerning public health hazard.”
“The safest place for a child should be his or her own home, but many homes built before 1978, including thousands in Memphis, have lead paint and other potential hazards,” said Representative Cohen. “Children deserve to grow up free from the permanent harm, including neurological problems, that exposure to lead can cause. This legislation would create a tax credit to provide homeowners the resources they need to address and remove hazards within their homes. I’m pleased to join Senator Whitehouse and Congressman McKinley in this important and much-needed effort.”
“There are still millions of older homes that still have lead pipes, which poses a massive public health challenge,” said Representative McKinley. “While most communities have made progress reducing lead in water mains, reaching every private home is difficult. This bill would provide an incentive to help homeowners reduce lead materials in homes and improve the well-being of our children and grandchildren.”
The legislation would create tax credits worth up to $4,000 to cover half the cost of abating lead hazards in paint, pipes, or soil. The new tax credits would supplement state and local lead control programs, and would be available to offset costs for removing lead from houses built before lead-based paint was banned for residential use in 1978.
The Senate bill is cosponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Gary Peters (D-MI).
The reintroduction of the Home Lead Safety Tax Credit Act comes on the heels of the release of President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan, which includes investments to improve the nation’s water infrastructure and replace lead pipes and service lines.
“The Home Lead Safety Tax Credit will give communities across the nation an important tool and incentive to advance the prevention of childhood lead poisoning,” said Ruth Ann Norton, President and CEO of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative. “By providing property owners access to tax credits for remediating dangerous lead hazards, we empower parents and communities to rid this dangerous neurotoxin from the homes in which young children reside. By doing so, we can better ensure more children will grow up healthy, better able to compete in the classroom and to reach their full potential.”
Lead is a powerful neurotoxin that can severely compromise the behavioral and cognitive development of children. Despite the widespread contamination of housing stock in the United States, funding for lead abatement programs, such as the Lead Hazard Control Grant Program, has only provided lead abatement for about 400,000 homes since 1993.
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