Senator Collins Votes to Advance Defense Funding Bill

Legislation includes funding for Maine shipyards, the largest pay increase for our troops in a decade, and important research dollars for UMaine

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, voted today to advance the fiscal year (FY) 2020 Defense Funding Bill – legislation that is absolutely essential to our national security and includes a number of provisions that support Maine jobs in the defense industry, including Bath Iron Works, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and Pratt & Whitney.  The bill failed to attract the necessary votes, delaying its passage indefinitely.

 

“This legislation provides our military with the resources it needs to protect our nation from increasing threats around the world,” said Senator Collins.  “It provides the largest pay increase for our troops in a decade, funds three destroyers and a down payment on an additional ship, supports operations at PNSY, and directs critical research dollars to the University of Maine.  These priorities are too important to our nation and to our state to delay.  Holding up consideration of this bill not only postpones the implementation of these priorities, but will end up costing the government more money than it otherwise would.”  

 

The FY 2020 Department of Defense funding bill includes $694.9 billion—an increase of $20.5 billion above the FY 2019 enacted level—and incorporates $1.7 billion for disaster recovery efforts. 

 

Additionally, the bill includes a number of priorities Senator Collins advocated for:

 

·         Troop Pay Increase:  The bill supports a 3.1% increase to military pay, the largest increase in a decade.

 

·         DDG-51:  The bill supports funding for three DDG-51s, and a $390 million increase in advanced procurement for “long lead time material for FY21 DDG 51 Flight III ships”

 

·         Shipyard Infrastructure Investment:  The bill supports an increase of $130 million, which BIW would draw on to make improvements to its digital design and shipbuilding technology.

 

·         DDG-1000/FFG(X):  The bill fully supports the budget requests for both the DDG-1000 programs and the lead ship of the next-generation frigate program to be awarded in 2020.

 

·         F-35s:  The bill supports an increase of 18 jets above the budget request of 78 (96 total aircraft). 

 

·         UMaine Research:  The bill includes funding increases totaling $48 million for various Department of Defense research efforts.

 

·         PNSY:  The bill supports an increase of $781 million above the budget request for Ship Depot Maintenance, which is a Navy account that helps fund operations at PNSY.  The committee also directed the Navy to continue its highly successful naval apprenticeship program at our nation’s public shipyards.

 

·         Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP):  The bill supports an increase of $17.3 million for PTAP, which assists small businesses in getting government contract work.  Five Procurement Technical Assistance Centers in Maine help Maine small businesses win hundreds of millions in dollars in contract awards annually.