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PA Senior Senator advances measures related to PA’s defense industrial base and military installations, PFAS, China tech theft

Casey’s bill to improve global food security and alleviate hunger and poverty across the world passes via defense bill

NDAA includes bipartisan Casey bill to address growing population of people with disabilities and older adults who need assistive technology

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that several provisions he advanced have been successfully adopted and passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023. These include his provisions to strengthen Pennsylvania’s defense industrial base, protect against technology theft by China, and advance research into PFAS. The NDAA also advanced Senator Casey’s bill to improve global food security and his bill to ensure access to assistive technology for seniors and people with disabilities keeps pace with advances in technology.

“From manufacturers to universities, Pennsylvania’s industrial base is indispensable to our national defense. In this year’s national defense authorization, I secured provisions to support and fund this critical industry. As Ukraine defends itself against Putin’s invasion with Pennsylvania-made weapons and equipment, it has never been more clear that we need to strengthen and protect the Commonwealth’s military installations and bases,” said Senator Casey. “I will continue to work in Congress to ensure security of Americans abroad and a vibrant economy at home, growing wages and creating jobs.”

Specifically, the 2022 NDAA includes priorities for which Senator Casey advocated in the following areas:

Pennsylvania Defense Industrial Base: Senator Casey led the inclusion of three provisions supporting the PA defense industrial base. One provision allows the Army to exclude material costs from its carryover calculations, saving mission-critical work and hundreds of jobs at Tobyhanna and Letterkenny Army Depots. Another paves the way for the Maritime Administration to design and contract for up to ten new sealift ships. The third provision provides the Air Force with the authority and budget line item necessary to move forward on its digital transformation efforts. Pennsylvanian leadership in Philadelphia and Canonsburg on the latter two initiatives continues to prove critical to U.S. national security.

Pennsylvania Military Installations: Senator Casey laid the groundwork for over $193 million in federal funding for vital capabilities at Letterkenny Army Depot, Philadelphia’s Naval Surface Warfare Center, West Mifflin’s Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory, Fort Indiantown Gap, and New Castle’s National Guard readiness center. This funding will support a new shipping and receiving building, machinery control developmental center, component test project, and barracks for helicopter pilot and mechanic trainees as well as the replacement of a training facility built in 1936.

Global Food Security: Senator Casey’s Global Food Security Reauthorization Act, passed via the defense authorization bill, reauthorizes the Feed the Future Initiative and the Emergency Food Security Program, the U.S. government’s primary global hunger and food security efforts. These life-saving programs have helped millions of people lift themselves out of poverty and provided aid to communities worldwide affected by natural disasters. Senator Casey’s legislation would improve upon existing versions of these programs, including increased funding, strengthened research provisions, and expanded focus from agricultural production to the entire food system underpinning the different ways which communities feed themselves, including forestry and fishing.

Assistive Technology for People with Disabilities: Senator Casey’s 21st Century Assistive Technology Act was included in the NDAA. This legislation would increase funding to state assistive technology programs to ensure support is available to people with disabilities—and keeping pace with advances in technology—in order to better serve rural regions and the increasing needs among older adults. The Assistive Technology Act was originally passed in 1988 and provides funding for states to expand access to assistive technology through services such as device demonstrations, loans of assistive technology and recycling programs to provide lightly used devices to individuals. The legislation has not been updated since 2004.

Russian Invasion: Senator Casey ensured that a provision requiring the Director of National Intelligence to assess of the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on global food security was included in the bill. Food security is key to national security, and this provision will help to improve the intelligence community’s ability to assess global food insecurity-driven instability, extremism, and conflict.

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 to advance research and a path toward 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 the Department of Defense (DoD) to complete a report identifying all DoD-procured products containing PFAS and formulating plans to limit use of all those products. Additionally, he helped support the NDAA-included requirement to create a publicly accessible website detailing the DoD’s research efforts and assessments of PFAS contamination.

China Tech Theft: In order to safeguard against China’s theft of American technology, Senator Casey helped to include a provision which establishes a three-year pilot program for the intelligence community to support the Commerce and Homeland Security Departments’ export control efforts, specifically using open-source intelligence. Maintaining our technological advantages against China is critical to U.S. national security and the competitiveness of American companies. Senator Casey continues to push the intelligence community to do more to support these efforts.

Respect for Wounded Veterans: Senator Casey helped secure the inclusion of a provision enabling Purple Heart recipients to confirm their Purple Heart status using their branch of service’s public website. This measure would help Purple Heart veterans access benefits they are owed due to their status and protect against stolen valor.