|Funding for Navy destroyer saved in late-night House vote|
Pingree leads effort to protect funding for ship, which could be built in Bath
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree helped lead an effort to defeat a vote that would have eliminated funding for an Arleigh Burke class destroyer. Construction of the ships provides the bulk of the work at Bath Iron Works and the program is key to long-term employment at the yard.
“This was a last-minute attempt to sneak in and cut funding for a DDG-51 and that could have had some pretty dire consequences for Bath Iron Works,” Pingree said. “But these ships are the workhorses for the Navy, they are a key part of our military strategy and BIW is getting them to the Navy on time and on budget. I think in the end we convinced my colleagues that it didn’t make sense from a strategic or a fiscal point of view to cut this ship.”
Pingree said last night Congressman Mike Quigley from Illinois introduced an amendment to a major defense appropriations bill that would have cut nearly $1 billion from the DDG-51 program and eliminated an entire shipfrom future construction. Pingree worked with House Members from Mississippi and Connecticut to convince the House to oppose the amendment.
“We had to scramble a little bit and put some pressure on some of my colleagues that this was a bad idea and that the ship is critical to our national defense, but in the end I think that became clear to them.”
In an open letter to House Members, Pingree pointed out that independent experts have identified the need for the Arleigh Burke class ships in the fleet:
“Congressional Research Service analyst, Ron O’Rourke, has asserted that the most significant gap between requirements and force level is the cruiser-destroyer fleet. It is critical we support the workhorse of the fleet, particularly at a time when the United States needs to maintain its qualitative edge of Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) capabilities,” Pingree wrote.
In a late-night vote last night, Quigley’s amendment was soundly defeated by a vote of 60-to-359.