Pappas Helps Pass Defense Bill Containing Key New Hampshire Priorities

December 8, 2020
Press Release
The funding package includes increased resources for research on PFAS contamination, $160 million for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and ensure veterans and their families can access care at a military treatment facility in Portsmouth

Today, Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) supported the final passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2020.

This year’s NDAA includes several provisions Pappas fought for including help for military installations to clean up PFAS contamination and expand federal efforts to research the health implications of PFAS, the authorization of $160 million for projects at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard which will allow them to continue playing a critical role in our nation’s military readiness, and the temporarily blocking a DOD plan that would bar veterans and active duty family members from accessing military treatment facilities across the country, including in Portsmouth. 

“As our nation addresses unprecedented challenges, I am glad that we were able to come together to pass a bipartisan National Defense Authorization that will strengthen our armed forces at home and abroad,” said Congressman Pappas. “This year’s authorization includes the pay raise all of our troops deserve, and it supports the health and well-being of our military by furthering efforts to clean up PFAS contamination on our bases and better understanding the long term health implications. The final package also includes $160 million for projects at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard that will allow Granite Staters to continue playing a critical role in our nation’s readiness. I hope the President backs off his veto threat of this crucial bipartisan bill, and I hope the spirit of compromise that prevailed in crafting this legislation will allow us to find a way forward on government funding and COVID relief in the coming days."

The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act Includes:
  • Delayed restructuring and closure of military treatment facilities to veterans and active duty family members across the country, including at a facility in Portsmouth.
     
  • The establishment of an interagency working group to coordinate PFAS research and development that have been tasked with finding alternatives to PFAS and AFFF.
     
  • Funding for the CDC’s study on PFAS in drinking water was increased to $15 million, a $5 million boost from the previous year.
     
  • Provides a 3% pay raise for service members.
     
  • Support for members of the Coast Guard and their families, including a pilot program on childcare, access to the Department of Defense’s SkillBridge program, and improved gender diversity and sexual harassment provisions.
     
  • Funding for a joint program with Israel to support research and development of effective treatments and responses to COVID-19 and lessen our dependence on China to bring an end to the pandemic..
     
  • Mandated reporting on all the servicemembers who were ever discharged because of their sexual orientation, and data on how many of them have requested discharge status upgrades.
     
  • Ensuring Vietnam-era Veterans receive care for illnesses directly linked to their exposure to Agent Orange