Shaheen Successfully Amends Annual Defense Bill to Include NH and National Security Priorities

July 23, 2020

**Legislation contains priorities Shaheen supported in underlying bill, including 3 percent pay increase for service members, authorization of $160 million for Multi-Mission Dry Dock project at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard & procurement of 15 KC-46 refueling tankers**

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, successfully secured and supported a number of priorities that address both local needs in New Hampshire and critical national security objectives in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year (FY) 2021. The annual legislation authorizes national defense objectives for the fiscal year. The FY21 NDAA passed the Senate with bipartisan support. The House of Representatives passed their version of the legislation earlier this week, which means both chambers will now go to conference to resolve differences between the two and produce a final bill.

These priorities include: 

  • Increased Funding for PFAS Health Study at Pease;
  • Expansion of Sanctions Against Russia’s Nord Stream 2;
  • Expansion of Health Benefits for U.S. Government Employees & Dependents Injured in China and Cuba; and
  • Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities.

“This year’s National Defense Authorization Act addresses a full scope of priorities that bolster our national security, invest in our military readiness and support personnel and communities in New Hampshire and throughout the country,” said Shaheen. “From increasing funding to continue the PFAS health impact study, to expanding sanctions against those involved in Russia’s Nord Stream 2 to rein in the Kremlin’s malign influence – this bill touches on a wide array of issues that will help make our nation – and world – safer. I appreciate the bipartisan commitment to get this legislation through the Senate and I look forward to working with House conferees, so together our two chambers can craft the best bill possible to deliver to the President.” 

NEW HAMPSHIRE & NATIONAL SECURITY PRIORITIES ADDED BY SHAHEEN IN THE FY 2021 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT INCLUDE: 

Increases funding for the PFAS Health Study at Pease and the Multi-site Study: Senator Shaheen successfully added an amendment that would provide additional funding for the PFAS human health study that she created in the FY2018 NDAA. This amendment increases the authorized amount for the PFAS study from $10 million (which Shaheen secured in the underlying bill) to $15 million.

Provides Benefits for Veterans Suffering from Agent Orange: Shaheen supported an amendment offered by Senator Tester (D-MT) that would require the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide benefits for veterans suffering from four diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange. The amendment is based on standalone legislation authored by Senator Tester, of which Senator Shaheen is an original cosponsor.

Expands Sanctions Against Russia’s Nord Stream 2: Building on her bipartisan bill included in last year’s NDAA that mandated targeted sanctions on vessels involved in installing Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Senator Shaheen added a provision that further clarifies those sanctions, targeting companies working with the Russian vessels sent to complete the pipeline. The Senator’s previous bipartisan effort led to a freeze in the construction of the pipeline, which, if completed, would impede Ukraine’s ability to collect gas transit fees from Russia and increase the Kremlin’s leverage and ability to sow discord in Europe.  

Expand Long-term, Emergency Care for All U.S. Government Employees and Dependents Injured While Serving in China & Cuba:  Shaheen added language to expand long-term, emergency care benefits she secured in government funding legislation signed into law last year to all U.S. Government employees and their dependents who were mysteriously injured while working in China and Cuba. Shaheen’s measure to amend the law follows her letter with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) in May, calling on the administration to interpret the law as intended by Congress. Senator Rubio partnered with her on this effort.

Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities: Senator Shaheen added a bipartisan amendment with Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) that would authorize the Small Business Administration (SBA) to declare a disaster in a rural area if any home, small business, private non-profit or small agricultural cooperative located in such area has incurred significant damage. This amendment is based on standalone legislation Senator Shaheen introduced with Senator Risch earlier this year.

After the 2021 NDAA cleared the Senate Armed Services Committee in June, Shaheen announced a number of New Hampshire and national security priorities that she successfully included in the underlying bill, which can be read in full here.