NDAA Passes, Includes Fitzpatrick PFC Health Study
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08) joined the House Friday in passing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which included a stunning 13 amendments authored or sponsored by the freshman representative – the most of any member of Congress. Included in the defense legislation were three Fitzpatrick-led measures relating to water contamination near the former Naval Air Warfare Center in Warminster, the former Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Horsham, and the Horsham Air Guard Station.
The amendments include:
- Amendment #37: Directs the Secretary of Defense to conduct a study on the related health effects of exposure to PFOS/PFOA at military installations.
- Amendment #104: Authorizes the Secretary of Defense to enter into intergovernmental agreements to provide for health screenings in communities near formerly used defense sites that have been identified by the Secretary as sources of perfluorooctanesuflonic acid and perfluorooctanoic acid.
- Amendment #290: Requires a report on the Department’s progress developing and implementing alternatives to AFFF firefighting foam that do not contain perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), as the Department has already begun.
“Our constituents all have a right to safe, clean drinking water and they deserve to know if PFOS and PFOA have compromised their long-term health. The bipartisan amendment I’ve introduced instructs the Secretary of Defense to consult with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to carry out a study on any health effects experienced by those exposed to PFOS and PFOA at military installations or former military installations,” said Fitzpatrick on the House floor debating Amendment #37.
“While this study alone will not fix the serious concerns about water contamination, it will provide us with critical information about the impact these unregulated chemicals may have and aid the federal government - in conjunction with state and local agencies - to reverse the contamination and protect the health and welfare of our residents.”
Fitzpatrick successfully added ten other amendments, including:
- Amendment #40: Requires DOD to include a description of any Chinese laws, regulations, or policies that could jeopardize the economic security of the United States in their Congressionally-required annual report on Chinese military and security development.
- Amendment #56: Ensures the full reporting of freedom of navigation operations, including maritime claims that go unchallenged.
- North Korean/Iranian Weapons Programs:
- Amendment #42: Requires report to Congress regarding the extent of cooperation on nuclear programs, ballistic missile development, chemical and biological weapons development, or conventional weapons programs between Iran and North Korea.
- Cyber Security:
- Amendment #46: Directs the Secretary of Defense to define “deterrence” in a cyber operations landscape, and assess how this definition affects the overall cyber operations strategy in the Department of Defense.
- Amendment #121: Expresses the sense of Congress that it is in the national security interest of the Department of Defense to assist Ukraine to improve its cybersecurity capabilities.
- Terror Financing:
- Amendment #282: Requires the Report on United States Strategy in Syria to include a description of amounts and sources of ISIL financing in Syria and efforts to disrupt this financing as part of the broader strategy of the United States in Syria.
- Departmental Reform:
- Amendment #39: Ensures that DOD's biennial core reporting procedures align with the reporting requirements in Section 2464 and each reporting agency provides accurate and complete information by having the Secretary of Defense direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to update DOD's guidance regarding future biennial core reports.
- Amendment #44: Directs the Secretary of Defense to implement a process to coordinate annual research requests between all services and offices under Department of Defense in order to maximize the benefit of each request and minimize duplication.
- Amendment #45: States that the Secretary of Defense shall direct all branches to establish a comprehensive strategy to determine capability gaps in training that can be rectified by virtual training, acquire the needed technology, and analyze effectiveness from using virtual training technology.
- Honoring POW/MIA
- Amendment #43: Directs the Secretary of Defense to raise the priority of completing DOD Directive 2310.07E in order to clarify processes and efficiencies in recovering the remains of heroes missing in action, via the POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
The NDAA is an annual federal legislation responsible for setting the budget and expenditures for the Department of Defense. The bill now heads to a Conference Committee where it will be justified with the Senate version by members of both the House and Senate before a final vote later this summer.
“From addressing water contamination from former and active military installations to putting American leadership and security first, I’m proud that the House accepted my amendments in overwhelming bipartisan fashion,” said Fitzpatrick. “When it comes to protecting our homeland, our families and our allies abroad, there is no room for partisanship. Each one of these measures strengthened the overall bill and deserve to be enacted into law.”