Trump threatens to veto defense spending bill with PFAS protections

By: - July 10, 2019 2:43 pm

President Donald J. Trump at the G20 Japan Summit Saturday, June 29, 2019, in Osaka, Japan. | Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead via Flickr Public Domain

President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to veto the U.S. House version of the bill that provides the federal government’s annual defense budget, citing issues with its spending levels and lack of funding for a border wall.

That led to pushback from Midwestern members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint), who introduced several amendments to the bill that would provide funding for PFAS cleanup and research. Kildee’s district covers the city of Oscoda, where runoff from a decommissioned Air Force base has proven a public health hazard.

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Kildee, along with U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Penn.), the co-sponsor of an amendment that would phase out the use of PFAS in military firefighting foam, said in a joint statement that “vetoing this bill would not only hurt service members and families affected by PFAS contamination, but would delay funding for our military, jeopardizing our national security.”

In rejecting the budget, the White House said its main concern was the amount of overall spending, which is roughly $20 billion short of its initial request.

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In a 10-page “Statement of Administration Policy,” the White House also said it “strongly objects” to the PFAS provision regarding cleanup on military bases, saying “at potentially great cost to and significant impact on DOD’s [the Department of Defense’s] mission, the legislation singles out DOD, only one contributor to this national issue.”

Earlier this year, a bipartisan group of lawmakers pushed the administration to speed up its actions to classify, clean up, and limit the amount of the toxic chemicals in the nation’s water supply.

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Derek Robertson
Derek Robertson

Derek Robertson is a former reporter for the Advance. Previously, he wrote for Politico Magazine in Washington. He is a Genesee County native and graduate of both Wayne State University, where he studied history, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.