Pappas Secures Key Priorities in Defense Authorization Including Shipyard Support
Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) released the following statement after the final National Defense Authorization Act of 2020 was reported out of the Conference Committee containing key New Hampshire priorities.
Pappas successfully fought for several New Hampshire priorities in the bill, including temporarily blocking a DOD plan that would bar veterans and their families from accessing military treatment facilities across the country, including in Portsmouth, help military installations clean up PFAS contamination and expand federal efforts to research the health implications of PFAS, and 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.
“I am pleased the Conference Committee advanced a bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act that will provide our men and women in uniform with the support they need to keep this country safe while also giving them a pay raise they deserve,” said Congressman Pappas. “This year’s agreement strengthens the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, makes further efforts to clean up PFAS contamination, and ensures New Hampshire veterans and military families can access the health care they need. I am glad we were able to come together to get this work done, and I look forward to voting on this legislation next week.”
New Hampshire priorities included in this year's National Defense Authorization Include:
- 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 increase from the previous year.
- A study on safety equipment used by firefighters and grants for safe alternatives to PFAS substances in PPE.
- 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.
- Authorization for two Virginia-class submarines
Additional Pappas Priorities that were included:
- The 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.
- Funding for a joint program with Israel to support research and development of effective treatments and responses to COVID-19.
- Ensuring Vietnam-era Veterans receive care for illnesses directly linked to their exposure to Agent Orange