Sen. Duckworth talks water infrastructure, Hate Crimes Act and vaccines to Taiwan
(WSIL) -- U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D- Illinois) is hoping to gain more support for a bill she's sponsoring, aimed at revamping the nation's water infrastructures.
Duckworth co-sponsored the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden last month. The law aims to make reporting hate crimes easier. Duckworth says the bill 'does very benign things'.
COVID-19 HATE CRIMES ACT
That law came in the wake of a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).
"[It] asks the Department of Justice to take a look and make sure we're not underreporting hate crimes," Duckworth said. "We have a program to help police forces identify hate crimes when they're against AAPI's in particular."
In April, the bill passed the Senate 94-1. The lone vote came from U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R- Missouri). A month later, it passed the House 364-62. Illinois' 15th District Rep. Mary Miller (R-Oakland) voted 'no'.
Duckworth says she isn't surprised at the way lawmakers voted.
"Look who voted against it. One who's a Q-Anon conspiracy follower and Josh Hawley who helped support the insurrectionists on January 6," Duckworth said.
President Biden signed the bill into law, saying 'we are committed to stop the hatred and the bias'.
"I'm so pleased that it was so vastly bipartisan in its passage from both the House and the Senate," Duckworth said.
VACCINES TO TAIWAN
Duckworth and other lawmakers traveled to Taiwan last week in a sign of support for a country trying to combat the pandemic.
The U.S. announced over the weekend that it would donate 750,000 COVID-19 vaccines as part of the Biden Administration's plan to help its global partners.
Duckworth says Taiwan could get the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines, but that has not been determined. Duckworth says the donation is a way to pay Taiwan back after the country sent PPE to the U.S. early in the pandemic.
"They had an outbreak happen, [and] at the same time they had already contracted to buy vaccines... but the Chinese government has been blocking them," Duckworth said.
"It's really important for the U.S. to show up and say 'You know what? We are going to stay beside you Taiwan, you are our friend and we're going to make sure you get vaccines."
WATER INFRASTRUCTURE BILL
Duckworth is sponsoring the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021. The bill passed the Senate last month by a 89-2 vote.
The bill would reauthorize funding to overhaul the nation's infrastructure system through Fiscal Year 2026. Duckworth says the country is long overdue for an overhaul.
"From 1970-71, the federal government's share of water infrastructure projects was over 65%," Duckworth said. "By 2017, that number dropped down to about 9%."
Duckworth says smaller, rural and impoverished areas are unable to raise fund to fix their water infrastructure. She says about 23% of the lead pipes in the country are found in Illinois.
"If you're on well water you should be able to get help there as well," Duckworth said.
By: Danny Valle
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