U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) Achieves Milestones in National Defense: PFAS Clean-up, Pathogen Safety, and More

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U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced the successful adoption and passing yesterday of several provisions as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024. These provisions include screening U.S. investments in national security sectors in countries of concern, advancing PFAS clean-up efforts, and enhancing safety and accountability in handling dangerous pathogens. The comprehensive defense authorization focuses on addressing national security challenges, particularly regarding Chinese access to U.S. technology. Additionally, the bipartisan Outbound Investment Transparency Act aims to bring transparency to American investments in sensitive sectors in China, while strengthening military capabilities and ensuring the well-being of Americans both domestically and internationally.

“This year’s defense authorization tackles the toughest national security issues we face, including the threats posed by the Chinese government accessing our national security technology and know-how. That’s why I fought to include the bipartisan Outbound Investment Transparency Act, which would shed visibility on U.S. investments going to China in highly sensitive and critical sectors,” said Senator Casey. “From strengthening our Nation’s military capabilities to protecting our people from toxic contaminants and pathogens, I will continue to work to ensure the security of Americans both abroad and at home.”

The bill now heads back to the House of Representatives for consideration before it can be signed into law.

Specifically, the 2023 NDAA includes priorities for which Senator Casey advocated in the following areas:

Outbound Investment Transparency: Senator Casey’s Outbound Investment Transparency Act, passed through the NDAA by an overwhelming vote of 91-6, seeks to screen U.S. investments in national security sectors that are made in countries of concern, including the People’s Republic of China. The bill would give the U.S. visibility into vulnerabilities and risks posed when the Chinese government has access to American technology and know-how in national security sectors. The industries included under the bill are: advanced semiconductors and microelectronics, artificial intelligence, quantum information science and technology, hypersonics, satellite-based communications, and networked laser scanning systems with dual-use applications.

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PFAS: As part of his ongoing efforts to address the toxic effects of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination, Senator Casey helped secure the inclusion of multiple provisions advancing a path towards remediation of toxic exposure to PFAS. For years, he has been at the forefront of efforts to address PFAS contamination in drinking water in Bucks and Montgomery Counties as a result of the use of a toxic firefighting agent at military installations.

This year, Senator Casey helped to include a provision requiring that the Department of Defense (DoD) provide a proposed schedule and cost estimate for PFAS cleanup efforts. Additionally, he helped support a provision directing the DoD to issue regular, timely reports about the status of cleanup on PFAS contamination sites.

Pennsylvania Military Installations: Senator Casey laid the groundwork for over $11 million in federal funding for vital capabilities at the First City Troop Readiness Center in Philadelphia, Letterkenny Army Depot, and Harrisburg International Airport. This funding will support military construction, vehicle maintenance, missile production, secure entry control facilities, and other sustainment, restoration, and modernization projects.

Select Agent Reporting: Senator Casey ensured that a provision requiring the DoD to notify Congress within 45 days of any theft, loss, or release of a biological select agent that might cause a threat to public safety. Requiring disclosure to Congress will improve safety and accountability in the handling of dangerous pathogens which could cause the next pandemic.

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