MAY 27, 2016 — The Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday approved the FY2017 Defense Appropriations Bill and the FY2017 Homeland Security Bill.
The defense bill recommends $20.5 billion for Navy shipbuilding, an increase of $2.1 billion and three ships over the budget request. The shipbuilding program includes $1.0 billion to construct the first U.S.-made icebreaker in more than 25 years.
The homeland security measure funds six new Coast Guard vessels.
In all, the defense bill would fund 10 new Navy ships.: two Virginia class submarines, three DDG-51 destroyers, three Littoral Combat Ships, one LHA amphibious assault ship, and one Polar Icebreaker.
The bill also fully funds advance procurement activities for the Ohio replacement submarine and aircraft carrier replacement programs.
The homeland security measure provides $10.4 billion for the d Coast Guard, an increase of $292 million above the FY2017 requested level.
"This level supports a robust USCG operating expenses budget, including a grant program for commercial fishing safety, purchase of additional response boats, and funds for the National Coast Guard Museum," says the Committee. "This bill also provides necessary increases for acquisitions, including funding long lead time materials for a tenth National Security Cutter, continuing activities associated with the Offshore Patrol Cutter, two additional Fast Response Cutters (for six total), and support for multiple sustainment efforts and program offices such as the C-130J, C-27J, and HH-65. The measure also includes program management and personnel costs associated with the Polar Icebreaker Recapitalization Project in addition to funding in the Senate FY2017 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill."
The two measures were praised by the Shipbuilders Council of America, which noted that the Defense and Homeland Security appropriations markups come on the heels of last week's Sea-Air-Space Exhibition, where leaders of the maritime industry called for the restoration of a 350-ship Navy and a cohesive national maritime strategy.
"There has never been a more critical time to support the men and women of our armed forces as they face daily threats from international aggressors," said Matthew Paxton, President of the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA). "Not only is the Senate Appropriations Committee investing in our Naval Fleet, they are also investing in the U.S. shipyard industrial base that builds, maintains and supplies these vessels."
Last month, SCA applauded the Senate appropriators for providing $75 million to complete a new survey vessel for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and $159 million for the design and construction of three National Science Foundation Regional Class Research Vessels in the FY 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill.