Lawmakers hashing out the conference report to the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill opted to strip out a provision that would have allowed communities outside state-owned National Guard installations to obtain funding to treat drinking water contaminated with PFOS or PFOA. The provision — added to the Senate version by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) to aid the communities outside of Stewart Air National Guard Base and Francis Gabreski ANGB — would have provided the National Guard Bureau access to defense environmental restoration funding to treat water from wells owned and operated by local water authorities. The language was intended to counter an effort by DOD to force the National Guard to use its operation and maintenance funds to cover the cost of cleaning drinking water supplies contaminated by Army or Air Force activities, Gillibrand said in May.
The Senate on Wednesday voted, 87-10, to adopt the conference report for the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill, marking the 58th consecutive year Congress has cleared the annual defense policy bill and the earliest that lawmakers have finished the work in 41 years. The bill now heads to the president’s desk for his signature.