Courtney Statement as House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense Backs Full Restoration of 2nd Virginia-Class Submarine in 2021
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, made the following statement today after the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense released its draft Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 defense appropriations bill. Included in the Subcommittee’s plan is funding to restore a second, fully-funded Virginia-class submarine in FY 2021. Specifically, the mark provides $6.8 billion to procure two SSN-774 Virginia-class attack submarines, about $2.5 billion more than the budget request and matching the level in the 2021 defense authorization passed last week in the House Armed Service Committee. The second Virginia class submarine was missing from President Trump’s budget proposal to Congress in February, and was quickly identified by the U.S. Navy as its most urgent unfunded priority in FY 2021. As Chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee, which oversees Navy shipbuilding, Courtney has since worked to fully restore construction of the missing submarine in this year’s FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
In March, Courtney led a letter with 111 other Members of Congress urging the House Appropriations Committee to support restoration of the second submarine. The 112 members that joined this request represent 32 states, over 14,000 suppliers, and over $10 billion in manufacturing and support activity in the submarine supply chain.
“Restoration of full funding for a second Virginia-class submarine topped the Navy’s list of unfunded priorities in 2021,” said Congressman Courtney, “which is consistent with the testimony of combatant commanders about the growing need for submarine capabilities around the world, as well as about the harm cutting a submarine would do to the workforce and supply chain, which need stability. That is why we found such strong bipartisan support to fully restore it in the 2021 NDAA last week.”
“I want to thank Chairman Visclosky and Ranking Member Calvert for recognizing the great national security interest that has been placed by Navy leaders not only in this submarine, but also in continuing the two-a-year build rate,” Courtney continued. “Their mark backs up the authorization we provided to restore full funding to construct the submarine in 2021, and it sends a strong message that the House is committed to fulfilling the national security priorities of our U.S. Navy.”
Last week, Rep. Courtney and the House Armed Services Committee approved the FY 2021 NDAA by a vote of 56-0. Included in the bill was an authorization of $6.8 billion for the Virginia-class submarine program—a $2.6 billion increase over the budget request that Courtney secured to restore a second submarine in 2021. In their February budget proposal to Congress, the Trump Administration proposed construction of just one submarine in 2021, breaking the steady two-a-year build rate that has been in place since 2011, and undermining efforts to address looming shortfalls in the submarine fleet.
Navy leadership has listed the restoration of a fully funded second FY21 Virginia-class submarine as its top unfunded budget priority this fiscal year. During hearings this year, Navy officials confirmed to Courtney that there is industrial base capacity to support the second submarine, that doing so reduces risk in the ramp up on Columbia construction, and that not restoring the submarine in 2021 will make it challenging to replace that submarine in a future year. Since 2018, Congress has allocated $1.1 billion for the second submarine.