Congressional Update: Infrastructure & NDAA

House Democrats are planning to work over the weekend to get set up for votes next week on the $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure package and the larger $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, which both include funding and provisions addressing water infrastructure. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is working to unify House Democrats to vote in favor of both measures, which are central to President Biden’s agenda.

This week, the House of Representatives passed the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act (HR 5305) – also known as a continuing resolution to keep the government open. If approved by the Senate and signed into law, this bill would extend funding for the federal government through Dec. 3, 2021, and raise the debt ceiling through Dec. 16, 2022. To avoid a federal government shutdown, the Senate must vote to approve, and President Biden must sign this bill into law before September 30th.

On Thursday, the House passed its version of the bipartisan FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) after considering hundreds of amendments. The massive $768 billion bill outlines the Pentagon’s spending for the coming fiscal year is considered a must-pass piece of legislation that has been enacted annually for the past 60 years. The amendments considered Thursday covered several divisive issues, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination. The final House version includes an amendment to address PFAS contamination impacting military bases and communities across the country. The amendment closes a loophole in the Toxics Release Inventory reporting process for some PFAS, which has allowed manufacturers to underreport PFAS releases to the environment, and a prohibition on the incineration of PFAS waste by the Department of Defense until it adheres to requirements set by the 2020 NDAA. Up next is the Senate’s consideration of their version of the NDAA. Assuming the Senate passes it, a House-Senate conference will negotiate differences before both chambers vote on sending the bill to the President for signature.