Senate Committee Clears Defense Funding Bill with Important Provisions for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Susan Collins announced today that the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Defense Appropriations Bill, which makes important investments in our public shipyards, including Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) in Kittery.  As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins strongly advocated for funding that will make much-needed improvements at PNSY and support shipyard workers.  The funding bill now awaits consideration by the full Senate.

 

“At a time when threats to our nation seem to be increasing rather than decreasing, the value and importance of our naval assets to security and stability have never been greater,” said Senator Collins.  “I am proud of the continued investments this bill makes in our nation’s public shipyards.  This funding will help Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the other public shipyards keep our nation’s submarines at sea for years to come.”

 

Some of the specific provisions that will improve PNSY infrastructure and support shipyard employees include:

 

  • $9.8 billion for ship depot operations and maintenance.  The legislation also provides $2.17 billion for ship depot operations support, which is vital for PNSY’s maintenance operations.  Senator Collins wrote to the Committee in support of this funding.
  • $2.45 billion for facility sustainment, restoration and modernization (FSRM).  This funding helps PNSY and the other shipyards address the current backlog of FSRM infrastructure projects.  Senator Collins wrote in support of an increase for this program.
  • $176 million for shipyard investment acceleration.  This funding is used to procure industrial plant equipment costing greater than $250,000 and would allow the Navy to purchase 15 items at PNSY. 
  • $1.4 million for Joint Travel Regulation – Long Term Temporary Duty (TDY) waivers.  The committee’s report also includes language authored by Senator Collins reinforcing opposition to the Department of Defense’s misguided approach of reducing per diem rates.  This policy would be repealed through a provision Senator Collins advocated for in the Senate’s fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act bill.

 

Moreover, the legislation contains a provision Senator Collins authored urging the Secretary of the Navy to end hiring delays at public shipyards in order to avoid an impact on shipyard operations. 

 

The FY 2019 Defense Appropriations Bill invests $675 billion in our military, an increase of $20.4 billion above the previous year’s enacted level, and funds the largest pay increase for members of the armed forces in nearly a decade. 

 

In addition to approving the Defense Appropriations Bill today, the Appropriations Committee also advanced the FY 2019 Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill, the 12th and final appropriations bill Congress must pass before the start of the new fiscal year on October 1st.