US President Joe Biden is greeted by Lansing Mayor Andy Schor and U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin as he arrives in Michigan on Oct 5, 2021. PHOTO: NYTIMES

Slotkin provisions on PFAS, supply chains, burn pits, pass in bipartisan defense budget

President Joe Biden signed into law today the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which will fund the Pentagon and the U.S. military for 2022, and included provisions submitted by U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, addressing PFAS contamination, supply chain vulnerabilities, and toxic burn pit exposure.

The provisions introduced by Slotkin, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, will increase reporting of PFAS contamination, reinforce supply chains for defense equipment, expand burn pit exposure assistance for American veterans, and strengthen the U.S.’s cybersecurity infrastructure. Slotkin also voted for amendments to increase the Pentagon’s overall budget by $25 billion to help maintain our competitive edge over rivals like China, and to give service members a 2.7% pay raise.

Slotkin served three tours in Iraq alongside the military as a CIA intelligence analyst, and was later a top official at the Department of Defense. This past spring, she led a bipartisan task force to examine vulnerabilities in our national security supply chains and made subsequent amendments to the NDAA to begin addressing them.

“Our national defense should always be a bipartisan priority, and as a former Pentagon official, I firmly believe Congress has a solemn responsibility to pass a budget that values our men and women in uniform and ensures we can maintain our edge over competitors like China and Russia,” said Slotkin. “I’m particularly pleased that my amendments to address supply chain vulnerabilities, PFAS contamination, and burn pit exposure among our veterans, have all been included. These three issues are examples of just how deeply Michigan is connected to our overall national security, and addressing them is critically important to our access to clean drinking water, our veterans’ safety, and our domestic manufacturing.”

Slotkin’s provisions adopted as part of the NDAA include:

• PFAS testing disclosure: Requiring the DoD to publish results of drinking and ground water PFAS testing conducted on or near military installations or former defense sites such that they are publicly available.

• Critical supply chain risk assessment: Requiring the Department of Defense to develop a supply chain risk assessment framework, including transparency tools, to protect national security supply chains.

• Cybersecurity infrastructure: Helping American businesses and local governments test their critical infrastructure against the threat of cyber attacks, and writes into law the National Cyber Exercise Program, which tests the U.S. response plan for major cyber incidents.

• Burn pit exposure: Expanding the VA’s burn pit registry to include veterans who served in Egypt and Syria, and requiring mandatory training for VA medical providers on the health effects of burn pits.

• Fiscal responsibility at DoD: Directing the Secretary of Defense to report to Congress on budget increases at the Pentagon to encourage responsible use of taxpayer dollars.

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