Slotkin provisions on PFAS, Michigan defense capabilities, innovation pass into law

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U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin

Key provisions that U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly), a former senior Pentagon official and member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), secured in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed as part of the final, negotiated NDAA, which is expected to be signed by the president.

Slotkin secured provisions in the bill to stem the flow of PFAS contamination, and capitalize on the power of Michigan’s auto industry to inform defense innovation. Slotkin’s CODER Act, which overhauls the Defense Department’s software acquisitions process also passed as part of the bill.

Slotkin lauded the bill for provisions that would support national security priorities, service members and military families, and its historic step to provide 12 weeks of paid parental leave to all federal employees:

“Funding our national defense should always be a bipartisan priority, and as a former Pentagon official and Army wife with a step-daughter serving on active duty, I firmly believe we have a solemn responsibility to pass a bill that funds our men and women in uniform,” Slotkin said. “Today, we passed an NDAA that is strong on national defense and stays true to our values as a country. It invests in our service members and their families, enables the military to defend the United States today, and prepares them to counter the threats of tomorrow. Importantly, this bill gives our military a 3.1% pay raise, repeals the “widow tax,” putting up to $12,000 in benefits in the pockets of about 65,000 surviving military spouses each year, holds the DoD accountable for the dangers of burn pit exposure to service members, enhances our military’s resilience to threats posed by climate change, and takes a historic step in giving paid parental leave to federal workers, including over 50,000 civil servants in Michigan.”

Slotkin highlighted provisions she secured to mitigate PFAS contaminationin and around military bases, and to benefit Michigan communities and businesses:

“This NDAA reflects progress on an issue that’s top of the mind for Michiganders: holding the Department of Defense accountable for PFAS contamination,” Slotkin said on PFAS provisions in the NDAA. “While we didn’t get everything we wanted, this is the first time the Pentagon has been required to do anything more than just ‘study’ PFAS — and that is a step in the right direction. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I fought to include provisions that require the Department to stop using PFAS-laden fire fighting foam (AFFF) by no later than 2024. In addition, military training exercises will be prohibited from using PFAS-laden fire fighting foam and the Department of Defense will be required to administer blood tests for PFAS exposure to military firefighters. And in Michigan, where the majority of our military installations belong to the National Guard, our base commanders will now be able to access the same environmental clean-up dollars as active duty bases.”

“We still have a lot of work to do when it comes to stopping PFAS from contaminating our communities –– clean water from our taps and in the Great Lakes State should be a right and not a privilege,” Slotkin continued. “I’ll continue fighting alongside my colleagues to hold the whole U.S. government accountable for critical regulatory reforms and standards that we need, and we deserve.”

“I’m also proud this bill includes the provisions I have fought to include to help our local communities in Michigan — including those that will help leverage the opportunity we have in Michigan to grow our defense capabilities, support local businesses, and be part of the next generation of innovation the Department of Defense needs for the future of warfare,” Slotkin said of NDAA provisions to bolster Michigan’s defense capabilities. “Michigan’s workforce and expertise have so much to offer the Department of Defense as it modernizes to include automation, robotics, cyber, and a new generation of vehicles, and to a growing aerospace industry — areas where Michigan excels. That’s in addition to our unique geography, which offers the opportunity for multilateral, complex exercises and missions.”

Slotkin’s bipartisan CODER Act passed as part of the final, negotiated NDAA. The CODER Act would overhaul and modernize the DoD’s software-acquisition process, while opening the door for small and medium-sized businesses in Michigan to compete for those contracts.

“This bill will make it easier for companies in our state offering cutting-edge software capabilities to compete for defense contracts, and I’m thrilled it has passed as part of the final NDAA,” Slotkin said of the CODER Act. “As a senior official at the Pentagon, I saw firsthand how long it can take to get critical capabilities to our service members in the field. Now, as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I’ve been committed to identifying a way to safely speed up elements of this process. I commend the Department of Defense and its Defense Innovation Board for identifying pragmatic steps we in Congress can take to improve the Department’s ability to support the warfighter and our national security.”

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