WASHINGTON – Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) released this statement following the inclusion of Amendment 26 in the FY19 Defense Appropriations Act:
“Today was a step forward for our Nation’s security. Amendment 26 to the FY19 Defense Appropriations Act, now included in the overall bill, supports the cost-effective funding for CVN 81, the Navy’s fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier. A dual procurement allows the U.S. Navy to build to a Fleet of 12 aircraft carriers more quickly as prescribed by the FY18 National Defense Authorization Act – which established that the Navy should comprise 355 ships, including 12 aircraft carriers.
“The Navy’s most recent Force Structure Assessment identified a need to maintain 12 aircraft carriers to meet Combatant Commanders’ needs and address a growing demand for U.S. presence around the world. Under current shipbuilding and ship retirement plans, the Navy would dip below 12 aircraft carriers beginning in 2025 and would drop to just 9 aircraft carriers by 2048. This is unacceptable.
“The House already expressed strong support for funding CVN 80 and 81 when it passed H.R. 5515, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2019, by a bipartisan margin of 351-66 on May 24, 2018. Specifically, this House-passed legislation allows the Secretary of the Navy to enter into a contract in FY2019 for the procurement of CVN-81. Further, it allows for CVN-81 to be procured as an addition to the contract for CVN-80 – allowing for efficient cost savings due to bulk purchases of materials and equipment for both ships. I am glad this bipartisan provision is included in this defense funding bill.
“A dual buy would be beneficial to both the taxpayers and to our maritime industrial base as it shows that Congress is committed to the thousands of workers who build and maintain aircraft carriers every day. Smart acquisition has the potential to save $2.5 billion. We need to give the Fleet the ships it needs to meet the challenges of today and prepare for the threats of tomorrow.”
Congressman Wittman’s amendment to the Defense Appropriations Act strips the limiting language of “CVN-80” from the text which now allows funding to both CVN-80 and CVN-81. This amendment was adopted by voice vote.
Cosponsors of this amendment included: Courtney (CT), Scott (VA), Conaway (TX), Gallagher (WI), Cheney (WY), Davis (CA), McEachin (VA), Neal (MA), Gallego (AZ), Royce (CA), Peters (CA), Norcross (NJ), Crist (FL), Coffman (CO), Murphy (FL), King (NY), Hanabusa (HI).
Congressman Rob Wittman represents the 1st District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he is the Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.