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Courtney Effort to Restore Construction of Second Virginia-Class Submarine Draws Support from Navy League, Machinists Union

October 6, 2020
Press Release

NORWICH, CT – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, announced that both the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) and the Navy League of the United States have officially endorsed his effort to restore procurement and construction of two Virginia-class submarines in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. The second Virginia-class submarine was missing from the White House’s budget request that was submitted to Congress in February, and was quickly identified by the U.S. Navy as its most important unfunded priority in 2021. Since then, Chairman Courtney has led the charge to restore construction of the second Virginia-class submarine in FY2021. He worked successfully to include its restoration the House’s 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorized the necessary $6.8 billion for the Virginia-class submarine program, and to back that authorization up in the House’s bipartisan appropriations bill (H.R. 7617), which fully supported Courtney’s effort.

Today’s letters from IAMAW and the Navy League are addressed to leadership of the House Armed Services Committee and Appropriations Committee, and to leadership of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. In each letter, the organizations urge House and Senate leadership to support the House’s position of full funding for the construction of two Virginia-class submarines in FY2021.

“Restoring construction of the second Virginia-class submarine in FY2021 isn’t just important to our shipbuilders and manufacturers here in eastern Connecticut, it’s also the Navy’s number-one unfunded priority at a time when our undersea fleet is more heavily relied upon than ever,” said Congressman Courtney. “I’ve worked across the aisle as Chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee to build bipartisan support for our effort to restore the second sub in 2021, and I’m proud to welcome more support from both the Navy League and the IAMAW. It’s further validation that the House’s NDAA set the standard this year, and their support buoys our efforts as we head towards conference.”

 Most recently, on October 1st, the Navy League of the United States wrote to the Chairman and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, and to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, to express their support for including funding for a second Virginia-class submarine in the FY21 NDAA. In their letter, they noted that the House-passed NDAA included full funding for two Virginia-class submarines as-needed, but that the Senate’s bill only included funding for “advanced procurement.” Specifically, they wrote:

 “On behalf of the Navy League of the United States, I am writing to express our support for including funding for a second Virginia-class attack submarine hull in the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This critical platform serves as a cornerstone of our National Defense Strategy, and it is essential to countering near-peer rivals such as Russia and China.
“As defense leadership has made clear, these fast-attack vessels will serve as the ‘tip of the spear’ as America shifts its focus to great power competition. […]
“While we understand the intent of the Senate’s choice to authorize advanced procurement funding only, we are concerned by several outstanding issues. First, we cannot predict the budget outlook for the coming years with any certainty, and funding this hull may be difficult with the current economic outlook. Now is the time to provide these funds, not later. Second, our shipbuilding industrial base deserves the consistency and stability provided by continuing to fund the same number of hulls. As shipbuilders plan their operations and assess their need for skilled workers far in advance, so predictability is crucial. Third, fully funding the second Virginia-class attack submarine hull demonstrates our commitment and dedication to undersea dominance to near-peer adversaries.

 “The House-passed NDAA, as well as appropriations legislation, recognizes the urgent nature of this particular procurement program and includes two Virginia-class hulls for FY21. We hope the final bill will reflect this priority.”

 To read the Navy League’s full letter in support of Rep. Courtney’s effort to restore the second Virginia-class submarine, click here.

 On September 30th, the IAMAW wrote to the Chairman and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committee, as well as to the Chairman and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Defense Appropriations Subcommittees, urging them to support the House’s restoration of the second Virginia-class submarine in FY2021. Specifically, they wrote:

 “On behalf of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), the largest defense union in the United States, I strongly urge you to retain language in the House-passed bill to authorize procurement of two Virginia-class submarines as you work to complete action on conference of the National Defense Authorization (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021. The restoration of funding for this second submarine would provide the Navy with the resources it needs to continue rebuilding our nation’s dwindling fleet of fast-attack submarines, while bolstering our domestic industrial base and creating high-quality jobs in the U.S. shipbuilding industry.
[…]
“On behalf of the thousands of Machinists Union members proudly working in the shipbuilding industry across the United States, I urge you to support the House-passed language through conference of the FY21 NDAA to authorize funding for two Virginia-class submarines in FY21 and continue to rebuild our nation’s diminishing submarine fleet.”

 To read both of the IAMAW’s letters in support of Rep. Courtney’s effort to restore the second Virginia-class submarine, click here.

 

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