House Passes Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and MilCon-VA Appropriations Minibus
***Conference agreement includes funding for upgrades at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard***
***Funds Burn Pits Center of Excellence***
***Includes $14 million for identification, mitigation, and clean-up costs across DoD for PFOS and PFOA contamination***
WASHINGTON, DC— Today, the House passed the bipartisan bicameral Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and MilCon-VA Appropriations minibus. The conference agreement now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law. The legislation funds critical projects to improve the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, provides support for efforts to clean up PFOS and PFOA contamination at Defense Department installations, and funds new research into the health impacts of exposure to burn pits. It also provides critical funding for VA infrastructure and VA programs to prevent and treat opioid use disorder.
“I am pleased that the bipartisan conference agreement, which includes critical funding for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and other New Hampshire priorities, is moving forward and will soon be signed into law,” said Shea-Porter. “This agreement supports our veterans by providing the second installment of $2 billion for VA infrastructure improvements that was negotiated in the bipartisan budget agreement and by funding VA opioid prevention and treatment programs. The Shipyard will receive the full amount needed to build the flood basin and a new crane rail for Dry Dock 1. Under the conference agreement, DoD will spend $14 million addressing PFAS contamination, which is impacting communities in New Hampshire and across the country. Finally, I am so pleased that this legislation will establish a Center of Excellence for research into burn pits. Since 2008, I have called for DoD and the VA to address this issue, which has impacted the health and well-being of millions of veterans who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard: The conference agreement includes $161,305,000 for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (page 178) to fund construction of the flood basin outside Dry Dock 1 and the new crane rail.
Burn Pits Center of Excellence: The conference agreement includes $5 million for the VA to focus on post-deployment health for veterans exposed to burn pits. It also includes $5 million for a Burn Pits Center of Excellence to better prevent, diagnose, mitigate, and treat conditions related to burn pit exposure (page 199). Shea-Porter has been one of the strongest advocates in Congress for reducing the use of open air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan and for providing veterans who develop conditions associated with burn pit exposure with the health care they need. Recently, she has taken a number of steps to reduce the military’s use of open burning in the United States to dispose of toxic waste, a process that releases toxins into the air and groundwater.
PFOA/PFOA Mitigation: The conference report provides $14 million for the Defense Department to identify, mitigate, and clean up DoD sites that have been contaminated. It also requires DoD to submit a plan within 30 days for how it will spend these resources.
VA Opioid Treatment and Prevention Programs: The conference report provides $348 million for opioid treatment and prevention programs (page 190). Shea-Porter has been outspoken about the need to for both VA and DoD to combat opioid use disorder and to ensure that separating servicemembers have the resources they need.