Courtney applauds House passage of FY12 Defense Appropriations Bill
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Joe Courtney and the House of Representatives voted to pass the Fiscal Year 2012 Defense Appropriations Bill by a wide bipartisan margin of 336-87. The annual defense spending bill includes important priorities requested by the Second District lawmaker and the Connecticut delegation to Congress, including significant investments in southeastern Connecticut's defense industry and statewide defense programs.
"As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I believe these investments are vital to maintaining a strong national defense and are a wise investment in our region's highly-skilled workers," said Congressman Courtney. "The Second Congressional District is home to tens of thousands of defense-related jobs, and during these tough economic times I am pleased to have secured funding that will protect these jobs and grow our economy."
Below is a summary of the Fiscal Year 2012 Defense Appropriations spending bill:
SUMMARY OF DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FUNDING:
Major Connecticut Defense Programs
• Virginia Class Submarines. The bill provides $4.7 billion for the procurement and construction of new Virginia class submarines, including $3.2 billion for the procurement of two submarines in FY2012 and $1.5 billion for advanced procurement of submarines in FY2013 and Fy2014.
• SSBN-X Ohio Replacement. The bill provides $1.3 billion for the continuation of the development of the replacement for the Ohio class ballistic missile submarine, the same as the President's request. According to the Navy, research and development efforts will focus on the propulsion plant, missile compartment development, and platform development technologies like the propulsor, electric actuation, maneuvering/ship control, and signatures.
• F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. $5.9 billion to buy 32 F-35s, equal to the request. The measure does not provide funds for an alternative engine for the aircraft. Pratt and Whitney builds the engines for the aircraft.
• C-27J/Joint Cargo Aircraft. The bill appropriates the president's request of $480 million for nine aircraft. The C-27 is designed to meet requirements for medium-sized intratheater airlift. The relatively maneuverable aircraft can be quickly loaded and unloaded without ground support equipment. The Connecticut Air National Guard will be assigned the C-27 starting in 2013.
• C-17 Cargo Aircraft. The measure provides $225 million for one C-17 aircraft, to replace a plane that was lost in a training accident. Pratt and Whitney produces 4 engines for each new C-17.
• Helicopters. The bill includes funding for the procurement of at least 113 helicopters built by Sikorsky:
o UH-60 Black Hawk. $1.3 billion for 71 Black Hawks for the Army and Guard, equal to the president's request.
o CH-53K Super Stallion. $677 million to develop the Super Stallion transport, equal to the president's request. The Super Stallion is a large, heavy-lift cargo helicopter currently being developed by Sikorsky Aircraft for the Marine Corps. It will be the largest and heaviest helicopter in the U.S. military.
o MH-60S Knighthawk. $401 million for 18 Navy Knighthawk helicopters. The multi-mission Sikorsky MH-60S is used by the Navy for combat search-and-rescue, special-warfare support and airborne mine countermeasures.
o MH-60R Seahawk. $780 million for 24 Navy Seahawk helicopters. The MH-60R is an SH-60B or F that has undergone a "remanufacturing" or "R" process and will feature advanced radar, missiles and low-frequency sonar. The measure also provides $209 million in advanced procurement funding.
Other key provisions
Military Pay Raise. The bill funds a 1.6-percent pay increase for military personnel in FY 2012, equal to the president's request.
In addition, during consideration of the bill, Courtney voted for amendments that would:
• Require a more accelerated drawdown in Afghanistan than the President's plan. The amendment would have required that no more than 25,000 U.S. troops be stationed in Afghanistan by the end of 2012. The amendment also would have required a greater drawdown than the President's plan to have 68,000 troops in Afghanistan in 2012.
• Save $5.6 billion through reductions or elimination of unneeded programs. Rep. Courtney voted for measures aimed at eliminating wasteful or excess spending, including eliminating a $5 billion "transfer fund" that would allow DOD to spend money with limited oversight and accountability, reducing spending on military bands by $124 million, and limiting DOD spending by $43 million on sports sponsorships that have demonstrated limited success in drawing in new recruits.
• Reduce spending by $400 million on infrastructure programs in Afghanistan. Rep Courtney voted to reduce spending on programs to support infrastructure programs that have been cited as being of limited effectiveness because the Afghan government cannot sustain them or demonstrated limited oversight and accountability. He voted to cut $200 million from the Afghanistan Infrastructure, and cut another $200 million from the Commanders' Emergency Response Program (CERP) in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to an audit by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), about half of the CERP Projects reviewed were unsustainable and fell into disrepair following their transfer into Afghan hands. Other reports have described effectiveness of U.S. aid to Afghanistan as "limited."
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