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Courtney Leads Bipartisan Letters to Sec. Esper as Trump Budget Proposal Draws Wide Criticism

February 13, 2020
Press Release

In case you’ve missed it, President Trump’s proposal to siphon resources from critical shipbuilding programs in his FY20201 Budget Request has already drawn bipartisan criticism from legislators in Congress, and from military and defense experts across the country. The President’s FY20201 Budget Request would truncate the build-rate for Virginia-class submarines in the years to come, while U.S. combatant commanders are expressing increasing concerns about naval buildups by aggressors like China and Russia.

Congressman Courtney, Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, has worked across the aisle to raise and maintain a strong U.S. Navy, and to help meet the Navy’s goal of raising a 355-ship fleet. In recent weeks, Chairman Courtney has written to Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly to underscore the intention of the Seapower Subcommittee to sustain investments in the Virginia-class submarine program.

He was also joined twice by the Ranking Member of the Seapower Subcommittee, Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA) in writing to Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper about the Navy’s attack submarine fleet. On February 5th, they wrote to Secretary Esper to underscore the critical need to sustain investment in our attack submarine fleet. Just yesterday, after the White House sent over a budget request that contained the fewest combatant ships of any request in the last decade, they wrote to Secretary Esper again to request shipbuilding and naval force plans that were missing along with the budget request. Chairman Courtney has said that the President’s request for only 6 combatant ships does not reflect a 355-ship Navy budget – you can click here to read his full statement.

Below, I’ve highlighted quotes from just a sample of stories that underscore the bipartisan concern over the President’s budget request.

If you’re interested in speaking with Chairman Courtney about the work ahead for the Seapower Subcommittee and House Armed Services Committee, please let me know.


### Navy Plans to Cut Shipbuilding Budget Face Swift Pushback on Capitol Hill

By Gina Harkins
February 11, 2020

"We have continued to make that investment [to build a 355-ship Navy] and as we saw with the president's budget, we have some differences there. We need to continue that investment in shipbuilding." – Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA)

“[Monday’s budget request created] a lot of confusion. Congress can’t want a bigger and stronger fleet more than the Navy and the Marine Corps want a bigger and stronger fleet.” – Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI)


USNI News: Thornberry Uneasy With Pentagon Shipbuilding Plan, Supports Fully funding Nuclear Triad

By Megan Eckstein
February 12, 2020

“[…] if [shipbuilding] is really the most important thing to defend the country and the top mission priority of the Department of Defense, then we ought to look at some sort of separate funding line. We shouldn’t have to make those difficult choices [between the Columbia program and other shipbuilding priorities].” – Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX)


USNI News: Navy’s New Shipbuilding Plan ‘Dead on Arrival,’ Lawmakers Say

By Megan Eckstein
February 10, 2020

“The Department of Defense budget request makes it clear that the current budget agreement is insufficient to ensure our military can implement the National Defense Strategy and make the investments it needs to outpace our adversaries. I am especially concerned that the budget proposal released today does not provide adequate funding to the Navy for shipbuilding, which is necessary to reach out statutory national policy of 355 ships and ensure that our fleet remains unrivaled at sea.” – Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS)


Defense Daily: Lawmakers Say Navy Budget Requests Too Few Ships and Subs

By Rich Abbott
February 12, 2020

“Simply put, the budget published today does not invest nearly enough in shipbuilding. It is clear to me—and it should be clear to everyone at this point—that we are in a full-scale strategic competition. And, while China is on track to reach a 420-ship Navy by 2035, we are struggling to stay on track with our 355-ship Navy shipbuilding plan.” – Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA)

“Obviously, we need more ships, and eight ships in a year is clearly not enough. But one thing I’d just remind you all, for the last several years, we have tried to put the Columbia submarine in a separate account, because the problem is when it costs $6 or 8 billion per ship, it eats up all the rest of the shipbuilding.” – Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX)

“I’m concerned that the President’s budget proposal dramatically cuts funding for Virginia-class submarines. For years, robust funding for these submarines has strengthened our national security and our shipbuilding industry in Hampton Roads. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I’m going to push hard to reject this budget cut and ensure full funding for two Virginia-class submarines.” – Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)


Breaking Defense: Massive Fleet Changes Loom as Navy Briefs SecDef Esper

By Paul McLeary
February 11, 2020

“Congress can’t want a bigger and stronger fleet more than the Navy and Marine Corps want a bigger and stronger fleet. There’s a lot of confusion about the budget [on The Hill].” – Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI)


Foreign Policy: Navy Prepares to Slash Funding for New Warships

By Lisa Seligman
February 10, 2020

“Simply put, the budget published today does not invest nearly enough in shipbuilding. I won’t allow us to lose ground.” – Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA)