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House passes bill regulating PFAS use, cleanup on military bases, in drinking water

House passes bill regulating PFAS use, cleanup on military bases, in drinking water

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Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A bill requiring the Pentagon to work with communities to clean up chemical contamination in drinking water passed in the House, but faces an uncertain future. The PFAS Action Act of 2019, which the House of Representatives passed on Friday, requires the reclassification of two types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, as hazardous materials. If the law is enacted, perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, and perfluoroactanesulfonic acid, or PFOS, would be reclassified as toxic substances. Contaminated areas would be classified as Superfund sites, accelerating their cleanup process. PFOA and PFOS are the key ingredients of foams used by the U.S. military for firefighting, although the Defense Department has limited their use in training, and can be found in drinking...
Senate passes $738B defense bill, including Space Force

Senate passes $738B defense bill, including Space Force

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Dec. 17 (UPI) -- The Senate on Tuesday passed a $ 738 billion defense bill in a compromise after months of negotiations. President Donald Trump has said he would sign the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, passed by an 86-8 vote, after Senate and House Armed Services leaders took nearly three months to strike the deal. The bill authorizes Pentagon spending and lays out policy guidelines. Spending includes $ 635 billion for the base Pentagon budget, $ 23.1 billion for Energy Department nuclear weapons programs, $ 71.5 billion for war operations and $ 5.3 billion in emergency disaster recovery for military bases. The bill also approves a 3.1 percent troop pay raise, which is the largest in a decade. Defense purchases were also boosted in the bill, which authorized over $ 9 bi...
Senate Foreign Relations Committee passes bill prohibiting president from leaving NATO

Senate Foreign Relations Committee passes bill prohibiting president from leaving NATO

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Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has passed a bill to explicitly prohibit any president of the United States from withdrawing from NATO without congressional approval. The bill, passed by the committee on Wednesday afternoon, awaits referral to the Senate for a full vote and is intended to close a loophole in the constitution that specifies what it takes to enter a treaty but not what it takes to exit one. It also follows reports from former National Security Advisor John Bolton and other White House sources that President Donald Trump has privately expressed interest in leaving the military alliance. Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat and member of the SFRC, introduced the bill along with colleagues in January and applauded its passage in a Wednesday press releas...
House passes defense bill creating Space Force, paid parental leave

House passes defense bill creating Space Force, paid parental leave

Business
Dec. 11 (UPI) -- The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to pass the annual defense spending bill, authorizing the creation of Space Force and passing a provision that provides all federal workers with 12 weeks paid parental leave. House Democrats pushed for the paid federal leave provision in exchange for the elevation of Air Force Space Command to its own branch of the military. President Donald Trump, who ordered the creation of the Space Force in February, negotiated with Democrats to fund the sixth branch of the military in exchange for the parental leave. Republicans objected to the paid leave, which is expected to cost the government $ 3.3 billion over five to 10 years. The bill passed the House in a 377-48 vote, with 41 Democrats and six Republicans opposing it, along wit...
California passes landmark gig economy rights bill

California passes landmark gig economy rights bill

Business
California lawmakers have passed a bill that paves the way for gig economy workers to get holiday and sick pay.Assembly Bill 5, as its known, will affect firms like Uber and Lyft, which are based in California and depend on those working in the gig economy.Some estimates suggest costs for those firms would increase by 30% if they have to treat workers as employees.But opponents of the bill say it will hurt those people who want to work flexible hours.If it is signed into law, the bill will change how employees are treated in the gig-economy, which has been a cornerstone of the model adopted by ride-hailing firms and food delivery apps.But California state senator Maria Elena Durazo said underpaying workers wasn't innovative. Assembly Bill 5 would put into...