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Tonko Selected Among Colleagues to Negotiate Defense Bill Between House and Senate

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Washington, September 18, 2019 | comments

WASHINGTONCongressman Paul D. Tonko was selected last night to represent the House of Representatives in negotiations with the United States Senate over the final terms of the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA shapes the funding and operations of the U.S. Department of Defense. Both the House and Senate bills include provisions related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS, which have contaminated sources of drinking water for millions of Americans. 

“PFAS chemicals have been entering our air and water for years now, putting countless American families and communities at risk of exposure to this dangerous and even deadly contaminant,” Congressman Tonko said. “Neither version of the NDAA we are negotiating here comes close to delivering all the solutions we will need to reduce environmental and health risks from PFAS. We need to prevent exposure and require remediation. However, I am grateful for this opportunity to keep fighting to strengthen the law to protect our families from PFAS. No matter the result of these negotiations, I will continue working with my colleagues to advance meaningful legislation that rids this harmful chemical from our drinking water and other waste systems.”

Tonko has been a longtime champion for action in Congress to address PFAS contamination, including PFOA and PFOS. As Chair of the Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change, Tonko has repeatedly pressed the EPA for more aggressive protections to keep these deadly chemicals out of drinking water. PFAS contamination has been linked to numerous health problems including thyroid dysfunction, liver disease and various forms of cancer.

In addition to provisions addressing PFAS, the NDAA provides funding for pay and benefits for service men and women, new technologies and other defense related expenses. To date, the NDAA has successfully been passed into law for 58 years in a row. 

The conference committee is set to begin negotiations this week, with an initial meeting of conferees anticipated to take place this Thursday.

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