Courtney Lauds Passage of Defense Appropriations Bill
Legislation Fully Funds Virginia Class Submarine Construction, Ohio Replacement Program
WASHINGTON—Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2) released the following statement after voting for the 2015 Defense Appropriations Act, which passed with bipartisan support by a vote of 340 to 73:
“This bill is a strong investment in U.S. security and Connecticut’s economy,” Courtney said. “It will maintain the two-per-year build rate for Virginia Class submarines that I have worked to establish and protect, and it makes the necessary down payments to continue the Ohio Replacement Program—both critical efforts to our long-term national security strategy. It is a testament to the exceptional workers who supply and build the most advanced submarines in the world that we are continuing to prioritize these programs, even in tough fiscal times.”
A summary of the bill follows:
Submarine Procurement and Development
- • Virginia Class Submarine. The bill provides $5.8 billion for the Virginia class submarine program, including $3.5 billion for two submarines in 2015 and $2.3 billion in advanced procurement for two submarines in 2016. The bill fully supports the recently announced Block IV multi-year submarine contract, which calls for 10 submarines to be built over the next five years at a two-a-year rate
- • Ohio Class Replacement. Fully funds budget request of $1.3 billion to continue research and development of the Ohio class ballistic missile submarine replacement.
- • Virginia Payload Module. Fully funds the budget request of $133 million for the continued development of the Virginia Payload Module, which would integrate strike payload capacity for Tomahawk Land Attack and follow on missiles in Block V submarines (FY19-23).
Aircraft Procurement and Development
- • F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The bill provides $6.3 billion for 28 F-35s, 4 more than requested in the budget, including 4 Navy F-35Cs, 6 F-35Bs and 28 F-35As.
- • KC-46 Tanker Replacement. The bill provides $1.6 billion for procurement of 7 aircraft, equal to the budget request.
- • C-130 Upgrades. In order to address the growing concern about the aging of the C-130H fleet, found primarily in the Air National Guard, the bill provides $110 million, an increase of $74 million from the budget request, for C-130H propulsion system propeller and engine control upgrades. Also includes language, Sec. 8122, prohibiting the use of funds to cancel the C-130 AMP program. The 103rd Flying Wing of the Connecticut National Guard is home to eight C-130H aircraft.
Helicopter procurement and development
- • $1.5 billion for 87 UH-60 Black Hawks for the Army and Guard, 8 more than the budget request.
- • $188.4 million for 8 Navy MH-60S Knighthawk helicopters
- • $870.1 million for 29 Navy MH-60R Seahawk helicopters
- • $573.2 million to develop the MH-53K Super Stallion transport transport, equal to the budget request.
- • $388.1 million to continue research and development of the Marine One replacement, VXX. Sikorsky was recently selected to produce the new presidential helicopter.
- • $100 million for Combat Rescue Helicopter, to partially address a $436 million shortfall in the program over the next five years, and designates the program as a congressional special interest program. The 2014 Omnibus provided $333.6 million for the program, which the committee report notes is sufficient to fund the program through FY2015.
Military Pay Raise. Provides a 1.8% across the board military pay raise, 0.8% more than requested in the budget.
BRAC. Denies funding for a new BRAC round.