AP NEWS

House committee’s defense plan includes money for submarine buildup

May 14, 2019

The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday unveiled a 10 billion would be spent on submarine programs, including funding for two Virginia-class attack submarines, and advance procurement funding — used to pay for parts needed in advance — for three attack submarines and the first submarine in a new class of ballistic-missile submarines. That’s a roughly 21.7 billion to buy 11 Navy ships.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, who’s pushed for funding for the third submarine to mitigate a future drop in the attack submarine fleet, said the budget plan is “very good for submarines.” Some have joked recently that he will need to change his nickname from “Two Sub Joe” — which he got for championing the effort to build two attack submarines a year at Electric Boat — to “Three Sub Joe.”

The House bill provides 15.6 billion from last fiscal year. Another 165 million more than what was enacted last fiscal year. That would make this the fifth consecutive year of growth in military spending.

When accounting for the funding proposed for military construction and Energy Department nuclear programs, national security spending would be 750 billion in national defense spending.

Spending caps set in place under the Budget Control Act set the limit for defense spending at 164 billion into the Overseas Contingency Operations account to skirt the caps.

“This bill rejects the Trump administration’s budgetary gimmicks and sleights of hand and instead provides the Defense Department with appropriate resources to address an evolving threat landscape and ensure the security of our nation and our allies,” House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said in a statement.

The bill takes aim at the Pentagon for moving money, called reprogramming, to fund Trump’s border wall. The bill proposes reducing the Pentagon’s transfer authority from the 1.5 billion, “and reducing thresholds for prior approval reprogrammings.” The Trump administration has twice moved money from the Defense Department to pay for the wall. Congress was not notified of the reprogramming, breaking with decades of precedent.

“There’s always been an understanding that Congress should have the opportunity to weigh in on the reprogramming,” said Courtney, who supports the proposal.

j.bergman@theday.com