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Rep. Courtney Statement on House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Approval of Third Submarine Funding

May 15, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, issued the following statement today after the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense approved its Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 defense appropriations bill. Included in the bill is funding for two Virginia class submarines in 2020, as well as nearly $1.5 billion in advanced procurement funds needed to support construction of the third Virginia class submarine requested in the budget and planned for execution in 2023.   

“For the last few years one of the most consistent and urgent concerns raised to Congress by our military leaders has been the looming gap in our attack submarine force structure in the coming decade,” Courtney said. “While Congress acted in 2017 to authorize the construction of additional Virginia class submarines over and above the two a year rate to answer these concerns, the administration, until this year, fiercely resisted efforts to put that authority to use. With the budget request we received this year and the bipartisan action today in the defense appropriations subcommittee, it appears that Congress and the administration are finally moving in the same direction.  

“Over the course of this year, the Seapower Subcommittee has heard clear testimony from Navy officials that additional submarines are urgently needed in support of our nation’s security, that the industrial base is ready and able to support this effort, and that the work on this additional submarine will help smooth out the ramp up to the start of the Columbia ballistic submarine program. That message, and the backing of our colleagues on the defense appropriations panel, should leave no doubt about the value and need for this important investment this year,” Courtney added. 

“Today is just the start of the long defense authorization and appropriations process, and there are still many steps ahead left to complete. As we started our review of the budget request this year, my staff and I have been in close contact with Chairman Visclosky and his team to ensure that our respective committees were on the same page about achieving the third submarine, and I thank him for the work he has done in this bill to support this important priority. As Chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee, I am proud that our panel has worked in a bipartisan way to get us to this point, and I look forward to addressing this important issue in our mark early next month.” 

Courtney’s multi-year effort to expand new subcommittee construction over and above the current two-a-year rate. Last month, Courtney led 74 bipartisan members of the House in supporting additional submarine construction in the 2020 defense appropriations bill.  

Background on Chairman Courtney’s Years-Long Push to Increase Virginia-class Submarine Construction to Expand Submarine Construction beyond the Two a Year: