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Legislative Update: FY2020 Appropriations & PFAS in NDAA

Yesterday, lawmakers in the House passed a bipartisan stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded through November 21st, which would avoid a government shutdown when federal agencies roll over to a new fiscal year on October 1st. This measure would give Congress an additional 7 weeks to agree on FY2020 federal funding, though another continuing resolution is still possible. The Senate plans to take up the stopgap measure next week. In the meantime, the Senate continues to work on FY2020 spending bills with the mark-up for Interior-Environment scheduled for next week. The House has passed 10 of its 12 spending bills, including Interior-Environment.

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Yesterday also saw the official start to conference negotiations on the fiscal 2020 defense authorization bill, or the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers hope to have the differences between the House and Senate-passed bills reconciled by October 1st. Both NDAA bills have key provisions to address PFAS that could be a contentious point for resolution. For PFAS language the most significant differences are the House bill mandates Clean Water Act (CWA) discharge limits for PFAS while the Senate bill does not, and the Senate bill requires EPA to promulgate drinking water standards for PFAS while the House bill does not. Most importantly, the House bill includes an amendment requiring EPA to list all PFAS as hazardous substances under CERCLA, something the Senate is staunchly against.