December 03, 2019

Duckworth Presses Military Leaders to Address Unsafe Military Housing Conditions


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – At today’s U.S. Senate Armed Services (SASC) Committee Hearing, Combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) questioned military leaders on their inadequate response to unsafe military housing conditions and requested that every Garrison Commander’s evaluation report include a line item on maintaining the highest quality of housing for our troops and their families. Duckworth also highlighted the urgent need for the military to reduce exposure to harmful contaminants like lead-based paint, lead-contaminated water and toxic mold and mildew at military housing facilities, as well as the need for the Armed Forces to proactively track and address the long term health impacts faced by servicemembers and military families as a result of exposure to those contaminants. Video of Duckworth’s remarks at the Hearing is available here.

“I don’t understand why not a single Garrison Commander to my knowledge has been fired for failing to maintain these standards. This is a public health crisis and a serious threat to our military readiness,” Duckworth said. “We must do better for the brave men and women who serve in our military, as well as their families who also sacrifice on behalf of our nation. I look forward to working together with our military leaders to create long-term solutions that help ensure we never again harm our servicemembers through neglect.”

Duckworth introduced the Get the Lead out of Military Housing Act in April of this year, which would protect military families from lead exposure by improving testing and inspection for lead in drinking water and military homes. Duckworth also successfully secured provisions in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that build on the Get the Lead out of Military Housing Act by establishing an annual certification process across all military housing and requiring the Secretary of Defense report annually to Congress a comprehensive summary of the data on lead-based paint in military homes, as well as which departments have failed to submit the required certification.