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The Day: Courtney applauds committee’s bipartisan passage of defense spending bill

September 3, 2021
In The News

U.S. Rep Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, on Thursday joined in a bipartisan vote of the House Armed Services Committee to approve a boost in federal defense spending that he says contains historic support for shipbuilding and submarine construction and procurement.

Courtney, chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, voted early Thursday morning on a bill that included nearly $24 billion more in spending than the $715 billion proposed by the Biden administration thanks to an amendment from Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala.

The bill passed out of committee on a bipartisan vote of 57-2 and moves for consideration by the House of Representatives later this month.

The bill authorizes a 2.7% pay raise for all American military personnel and creates a bipartisan commission to conduct a review of the war in Afghanistan, among other provisions related to Afghanistan.

“The NDAA we completed this morning after a seventeen-hour-long markup reflects months of careful examination of national security challenges, and builds on the budget request to set a bipartisan framework for meeting the short and long term needs of our U.S. Navy, America’s shipbuilding infrastructure, and the men and women who wear our nation’s uniform,” Courtney said in a statement.

“As Chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee, I’m proud of the work we did this year to focus on our shipbuilding and naval force structure needs and produce a credible plan for growing our fleet. At a time when our national security strategy is pivoting towards competition and challenges in the maritime domain, this bill lays an important marker for the work ahead in crafting a stable and executable path towards the larger and more capable fleet we need.”

The bill provides a total of $13.4 billion for submarine procurement, repair, research & development priorities. It authorizes $567 million for the Virginia-class submarine program and increases production from two to three submarines by 2025. The bill, Courtney said in a statement, supports the second year of funding for the first Columbia-class submarine. The Navy in 2020 awarded Groton-based submarine builder Electric Boat a $10.3 billion contract for the first two Columbia-class submarines.

"We continue to be grateful for Congressional support of the Columbia and Virginia submarine programs," Kevin Graney, president of Electric Boat, said in a statement. "This enables us to continue growing our workforce and creating new jobs in Connecticut and Rhode Island, and across the country with our suppliers."

The bill passed by the committee on Thursday incorporates recommendations of the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military, includes removal of the commander from decisions related to prosecution of special victim crimes and creates an Office of the Special Victim Prosecutor within each branch of the military.

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