Senate Appropriators Release FY2021 Spending Bills
The Senate Committee on Appropriations has released the text of its spending bills for fiscal year (FY) 2021. The 2021 fiscal year officially started on October 1, however, on October 1, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government at current FY2020 spending levels through December 11 because House and Senate appropriators were able to pass FY2021 spending bills. Upon the committee’s release, Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) noted that the bills will not be marked up, but rather serve as a basis for negotiations with the House in the coming weeks during the Lame Duck Session that kicked off on November 16. The House passed their spending bills earlier this year. The House and Senate have just weeks to reach agreements on spending levels and pass either a massive omnibus spending bill (packaging together all twelve FY2021 spending bills) by December 11, or resort to passing another CR to avoid a government shutdown on December 12 when the current CR expires. At the time of this writing, the White House is signaling that they are open to passing an omnibus bill.
The Senate Committee on Appropriations’ report for the Interior-Environment spending bill, responsible for funding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s water infrastructure programs, can be accessed here. The committee report for the Energy-Water Development spending bill, that funds the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, can be accessed here.
House Democrats to Pursue PFAS Action In 117th Congress
Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) has announced that she and her Democrat colleagues in the House will try again to pass comprehensive legislation addressing PFAS contamination and treatment next year and that the issue will be “a top priority” in the 117th Congress. Dingell explained that she and Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) have been reviewing the possibility of reintroducing the PFAS Action Act of 2019 (H.R. 535), which passed the House this year, but was never acted upon in the Senate. H.R. 535 is a broad package that includes numerous provisions targeting contamination, monitoring, treatment, and efforts to phase out PFAS chemicals in products ranging from cookware to firefighting foam to water supplies. If enacted into law, the package would also mandate that PFOA and PFOS be designated as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), and provide for the opportunity for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to determine whether to designate and regulate the entire class of PFAS chemicals as hazardous under CERCLA. If USEPA designates the entire class of PFAS as hazardous under CERCLA, it could potentially adversely impact agencies’ ability to land apply biosolids, barring any specific exemptions.