Before the meeting, the Navy Assured Senator Collins that PNSY Infrastructure Projects are Currently Safe
Click HERE for a high-resolution photo of Senator Collins with Rick Smith (L) and Gary Buertin (R)
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins recently met with leaders from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) Metal Trades Council (MTC) in her Washington, D.C., office. The President and Vice President of MTC, Richard “Rick” Smith and Gary Buertin, spoke with Senator Collins about the Administration’s proposal to divert funds from military construction projects, specifically appropriated by Congress.
In March, the Department of Defense (DOD) provided a list of military construction projects that included the PNSY priorities, which were under threat of losing funding as a result of the emergency declaration. Since the President announced his emergency declaration and projects at the Shipyard were listed as potential targets to lose funding, members of the Maine and New Hampshire delegations have fiercely advocated on behalf of the Shipyard and worked to defend the funding secured by Congress.
“Proceeding the productive discussion with Rick and Gary from PNSY’s Metal Trades Council, I was encouraged by the Navy’s testimony earlier in the day assuring me PNSY’s fiscal year 2019 construction projects would be awarded as scheduled,” said Senator Collins. “PNSY is critical to southern Maine’s economy and our national security, and I will continue to work with my colleagues until we have concrete assurance for Shipyard workers that this funding is secured.”
Following weeks of advocacy on behalf of the shipyard, Senators Collins, Angus King (I-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) issued a joint statement last week in response to a new memo from Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan that directs military construction projects with fiscal year 2019 award dates be exempt from having their funding diverted to pay for a border wall. This specific criteria means that the current projects at PNSY with fiscal year 2019 award dates – which had funding specifically appropriated by Congress and signed into law – should not lose funding.
As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Collins helped secured $162 million for these three projects at PNSY. At a recent hearing, she questioned the U.S. Navy’s Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics about the status of these projects, and he assured her that the Department of Defense was on track to award contracts for all three.