Durbin Honors World Water Day As Tribute To Late Senator Paul Simon

WASHINGTON  U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) spoke on the Senate floor honoring World Water Day - a tribute to former Illinois Senator Paul Simon. In honor of his legacy, Durbin introduced The Paul Simon Water for the World Act, to build on and expand the original Paul Simon for the Poor Act. Simon was the author of the book “Tapped Out,” which warned of the world’s looming clean water crisis.


“After Paul Simon passed away, I approached his family and talked about a tribute to him…I thought to myself there were some things that he valued that maybe I can try to help in my own way in his memory. One of them was in 2014 when I introduced a bill called The Paul Simon Water for the World Act,” Durbin said.


Both of these laws passed on a bipartisan basis and Congress has sustained funding for these programs. In Ghana, for example, these laws have helped fund the Digni-Loo program. It has provided rural villagers with clean, sustainable toilets and helped eliminate water borne diseases in entire districts.


Durbin continued, The Paul Simon Water for the World Act was designed to build on the success of an earlier effort called The Paul Simon For the Poor [Act], which had passed ten years before, and sought to bring clean water and sanitation programs to the world’s poorest communities. Today, as we mark World Water Day, I want to recognize what we have accomplished in the years since these two pieces of legislation became law. They have helped provide first time access to clean drinking water and sanitation for more than 60 million additional people across the globe. Those successes have also helped improve global health, economic development, and educational attainment. And they have proven how far just a little federal funding can go in uplifting the poorest communities around the world.”


According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 884 million people around the world do not have access to safe drinking water and more than two billion do not have access to basic sanitation. U.S.-supported programs through these two laws help provide sustainable systems that address these most basic of human needs. 


Durbin concluded, “This World Water Day, I hope we can reaffirm our commitment—in this Senate—to supporting legislation, in the name of my friend and mentor, the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act, that will help improve global health for years to come.”


Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.


Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.


Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.