1994 Scorecard Vote
In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure that all Americans have access to safe, clean water. While the law helped make drinking water safer, it has failed to protect millions of Americans -- particularly in rural areas and small towns -- from dangerous pollutants. In part, this is because the federal government has failed to set adequate standards for some pollutants; in part it is because the law hasn't been adequately enforced. According to EPA studies, for example, millions of people still get their drinking water from systems that don't comply with the law; more than 100,000 violations of the Act are reported each year (few result in fines or other enforcement action). Sometimes, these violations can have deadly consequences: in 1993 and 1994, for example, more than 120 people in Milwaukee and Las Vegas died after drinking contaminated water from municipal water systems. Despite the obvious need for a stronger Safe Drinking Water Act, some lawmakers introduced amendments designed to weaken the law when the Senate considered reauthorization this year. Recorded votes were taken on three amendments:
Sen. Malcolm Wallop (R-WY) offered an amendment that would have allowed state governments to choose which clean drinking water standards they wanted to follow. Again, this amendment attacked the notion that all Americans -- not just those lucky enough to live in states able to resist lobbying by polluters -- deserve to have clean drinking water.
On May 18, 1994, the Senate rejected the Wallop amendment by a vote of 28 - 67. NO is the pro-environment vote.