MARCH 3, 2017 — U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) said yesterday that an agreement on a final FY2017 Defense Appropriations Bill has been reached that would increase funding for new ships for the U.S. Navy, a modernization effort that will involve shipbuilding in Mississippi.
A news release from his office says that Cochran, as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Defense, worked to reach an agreement between the Senate and House of Representatives to complete FY2017 appropriations for the Department of Defense.
"I am optimistic that Congress will approve this agreement and give the Department of Defense what it requires to keep our nation safe and meet the needs of our servicemen and women," Cochran said.
"We've tried to make the best decisions possible, within funding limitations, to support national security priorities, which includes modernizing the Navy's aging fleet. We're funding 10 new ships, three of which were not requested by the previous administration," he said. "I'm pleased that our shipbuilders in Mississippi will play an important role in this process."
The agreement would provide $1.8 billion, not included in the budget request, to fully fund the procurement of an LPD amphibious warship. This ship would be the thirteenth San Antonio-class LPD built for the Navy.
The measure would also provide $1.6 billion in the budget request for advance procurement of the LHA-8 amphibious assault ship, and $3.6 billion for the construction of three DDG-51 destroyers, one of which would be built in Pascagoula.
Huntington Ingalls Industries Ingalls Shipbuilding Divisionin Pascagoula builds the LPD, DDG 51 and LHA vessels for the U.S. Navy.
Overall, the bill would provide $21.2 billion for Navy shipbuilding programs, an increase of $2.8 billion and three ships above the budget request. The agreement would fund construction of two Virginia class submarines, three DDG-51 destroyers, three Littoral Combat Ships, one LHA amphibious assault ship, and one LPD amphibious transport dock. It also provides advance procurement activities for the Ohio replacement submarine and aircraft carrier replacement programs, as well as advanced procurement funding to accelerate new construction of a polar icebreaker ship.