This was a vote on a motion to suspend the rules and pass legislation effectively eliminating lead from faucets and other fixtures used for drinking water. Under the bill, the sale of such products would be permissible only if they were “lead-free.”
Motions to suspend the rules limit time allowed for debate, and prohibit members from offering amendments. A two-thirds vote is required to approve the motion and pass a bill, rather than the usual majority.
Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) urged support for this bill: “This bill will update the national lead content standard to nearly eradicate lead in faucets and fixtures which currently contribute up to 20 percent of human lead exposure, according to the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency]. In a 21st century America, we have a responsibility to do more to protect our children and families against the lead exposure acquired through plumbing systems. The Safe Drinking Water Act, which determines the national lead content standards, currently allows up to 8 percent lead content for faucets and other plumbing fixtures and limits the amount of lead that can leach from plumbing into drinking water. But health studies have concluded that much smaller amounts of lead exposure can have serious impacts on children and adults, including kidney disease, reduced IQ, hypertension, hearing loss, and brain damage.”
Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) argued that the bill failed to educate the public about the new lead standard, and therefore would lead to mass confusion, and perhaps unintended consequences: “…We need an education component to this bill. I urge my colleagues to vote against this bill so we can get an education component part of it. I am concerned that do-it-yourselfers, much like me, are going to see this legislation pass, think that their existing faucets are toxic fountains, go to their hardware store to get a new faucet, cut their home piping, thereby releasing lead shavings into their home's pipes, and wind up with water streaming from their faucets with even more lead than had they just left the faucet alone.”
The House agreed to the motion to suspend the rules and pass this bill by a vote of 226-109. Voting “yea” were 195 Democrats and 31 Republicans. 108 Republicans and 1 Democrat voted “nay.” As a result, the House passed legislation effectively eliminating lead from faucets and other fixtures used for drinking wa