Republicans' proposal to raise the debt ceiling would leave 9,300 more children exposed to lead poisoning, White House says

Republicans' proposal to raise the debt ceiling would leave 9,300 more children exposed to lead poisoning, White House says
Nikki Sparks prepares a bottle for her 8-month-old daughter Lilyana with bottled water at a family home Wednesday, June 2, 2021 in McDowell County, West Virginia.Julia Rendleman/Getty Images
  • House Republicans have proposed deep spending cuts in exchange for increasing the debt limit.
  • The White House says these cuts would leave thousands of children more vulnerable to lead poisoning.

More than 9,000 children would live in homes that risk giving them lead poisoning under House Republicans' proposed spending cuts, the White House said in a fact sheet released Tuesday.

White House officials released a state-by-state breakdown of how the GOP debt ceiling legislation, which passed the House last month, would impact people, from their Social Security and Medicare benefits to housing and student loans.

Republicans have insisted they wouldn't cut funding for defense, the Department of Veterans' Affairs, and border security, meaning that in order to reach their goal of reducing 2024 spending to 2022 levels, they'd have to cut at least 30% of funding for all other government programs, the Office of Management and Budget has said.

The White House said this would mean cutting funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's lead mitigation efforts.

"A 30 percent cut would reduce funding for HUD lead grant programs that mitigate housing-related risks of lead poisoning and other illnesses and injuries to lower income families, especially children, resulting in approximately 6,600 fewer lead safe homes and adversely impacting nearly 9,300 children," the fact sheet said.


HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge has warned that the agency would suffer "the most devastating impacts in HUD's history" if the GOP's funding cuts become law. The funding cuts would also heavily impact other housing assistance programs for low-income families, including taking housing vouchers from more than 800,000 households, the White House said.

Sen. JD Vance, an Ohio Republican and member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, recently told Insider that HUD is bloated and spending reductions wouldn't necessarily hurt low-income families.

"A large share of the HUD budget I think actually could be cut and could be cut in a way that preserves housing assistance for needy families," he told Insider.

The country is hurtling towards potential default, as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has repeatedly warned the federal government will no longer be able to pay its debts as soon as June 1. But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Tuesday morning that he and President Joe Biden are "nowhere near a deal yet" on raising the debt ceiling.