Congress Eyes Boost in Sub Production

Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Many Electric Boat workers are hoping Congress will approve additional funding in next year's Defense Appropriations Bill for the construction of a second submarine, says the Norwich Bulletin

The interest in increasing submarine production hasn't subsided since Democrats took control of Congress last month. In fact, several efforts are under way to increase the Navy's shipbuilding budget in 2008 with funding for five additional ships beyond what the Navy had originally requested, including a second fast-attack submarine. U.S Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, has picked up the continued the debate started by his predecessor, former Congressman Rob Simmons. Last year, the Republican-controlled Congress approved the authorization for two subs a year, but failed to approve the money to make that happen. The president's proposed 2008 Defense spending plan includes funding for just one sub.

At an Armed Services Committee meeting last week, Courtney questioned Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Pace about potential harm that could be caused by sticking to the Navy plan of building two subs per year beginning in 2012 and one sub per year before then.

Courtney also relayed those concerns in a letter to Congressman John Murtha, the new chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. Mississippi Congressman Gene Taylor, chairman of the Armed Services subcommittee on Seapower and Expeditionary Forces, is also lobbying Murtha for support of adding five ships to the Navy's shipbuilding budget next fiscal year, including a second submarine. A slow down in work at the shipyard resulted in a loss of nearly 1,200 jobs last year, including 600 through layoffs and the remainder through attrition. Source: Norwich Bulletin

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