Senate Passes Defense and Domestic Appropriations

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This week the Senate passed a major appropriations bill covering the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.  Passing this bill is a major step toward Congress’ goal of approving all appropriations bills prior to the new fiscal year on October 1. Thus avoiding a government shutdown just before the mid-term elections.  Included in the bill are a couple last-minute amendments that are of interest to drinking water.  One provides that “$1,000,000 shall be available to enhance harmful algal bloom exposure activities, including surveillance, mitigation, and event response efforts, with a priority given to geographic locations subject to a state of emergency designation related to toxic algae blooms within the past 12 months.”  Another amendment provides $45 million from the military operations budget for payments to “local water authorities and states” for the treatment of PFAS in drinking water resulting from Air Force supported activities. These amendments are considered noncontroversial and should be a part of the final appropriations bill when it is signed by the President.