By and large, lawmakers are unresponsive to ordinary citizens needs. Generally speaking, they are only concerned about addressing issues that will burn them votes. Doesn't matter what the most important issues are facing the community. What matters are going after a block of voters who will reelect them for subsequent terms in office.
Currently, there are no term limits on Congressmembers. Because of this, they can maintain residences in Washington and have lucrative political careers for years or decades. This makes them drift out of touch with the plight of the common citizen where they come from. Congresspeople should be made to experience what life is like for the average voter.
Lawmakers bring issues to light either when the public keeps demanding change, or when the lawmakers are directly affected by a problem. It usually takes awhile. In the case of lead contamination in the House, it is understood that environmentalists have been lobbying for clean water regulation for years; now that the lawmakers are experiencing a problem, the issues is more relevant, and more likely to get moved to the top of the list of issues for reform. In the past, the White House expressed disdain for the way the EPA used scientific research to draw regulation, deeming the research as unreliable. The powers of the EPA were limited. Now the situation has changed, and lawmakers are demanding that the EPA improve its lead regulations. The people of Michigan have been waiting for clean water for a long time. It has taken a crisis in the House for lawmakers to step up and respond to the needs of citizens and government.
In the world there are lots of laws the need tweaking and changes. Lawmakers are busy people and try to do as many things as they can. It may appear they are unresponsive to citizens needs but this is because of all there other important duties and needs that they have to do first.