U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) today announced that the spending bill keeping the federal government running through September 30 preserves critical submarine construction work in Rhode Island. The fiscal year 2013 stopgap Appropriations bill includes a total of $4.9 billion to build two Virginia-class submarines in 2013 and to begin purchasing supplies to build two subs in 2014, and also gives the Navy multi-year procurement authority to purchase the next block of submarines beginning in 2014.
The Navy's Virginia-class submarines are built collaboratively by Electric Boat workers in Rhode Island and Connecticut.
"This is a smart investment in our national security and a positive step toward a more forward-looking budgeting process. Rhode Island workers play a critical role in equipping our forces and building the submarines of tomorrow. Submarines are an extremely effective force multiplier and deterrent to our adversaries. Submarine manufacturing is a vital part of Rhode Island's defense industry, and I am pleased we were able to keep the Virginia-class submarine program on track," said Reed, who chairs the Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower.
As the number two Democrat on the Armed Services Committee and a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Senator Reed was able to authorize and appropriate funds for two Virginia-class submarines in the fiscal year 2013 defense bill; restore nearly $778 million in advanced procurement funding so that the Navy may purchase two Virginia-class submarines in 2014; provide multi-year procurement authority to the Navy to purchase the next block of submarines; and authorize the Navy to use incremental funding to buy an additional Virginia-class submarine in fiscal year 2014.
The Appropriations measure also directs the Pentagon to include 10 Virginia-class submarines in its next multi-year contract. Additionally, it approves funding for other major programs, including the DDG-1000, which so many Rhode Islanders help build.
The Senate approved the Appropriations bill by a 73-26 vote on Wednesday. The House then took up and passed the Senate version of the bill yesterday and it now goes to President Obama to be signed into law.