Senate Appropriators Allot $21.35B for Shipbuilding; 1 Virginia-Class Attack Boat

Senate appropriators are proposing $21.35 billion for Navy shipbuilding that would fund nine battleforce ships, according to the text of the legislation that was released on Tuesday.

The Senate Appropriations Committee’s funding allocation for a total of nine battleforce ships in its draft of the Fiscal Year 2021 defense spending bill is an increase from the eight the Navy sought in its request earlier this year.

The legislation features funds for one Virginia-class submarine, one Columbia-class boat, one Constellation-class frigate, one LPD-17 amphibious transport dock, two Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, two T-ATS towing and salvage ships and one Expeditionary Fast Transport, according to a summary from the committee. Notably, the Navy did not seek to buy an EPF vessel in FY 2021.

Senate appropriators suggested $2.3 billion in funding for one Virginia-class submarine, and nearly $2.4 billion in advance procurement money for the Virginia program.

While the Navy had been planning for a two-per-year build on the Virginia-class program, the service earlier this year only sought one boat and included the second submarine on its unfunded wish list. The move angered some lawmakers, who had been calling for the Navy to build more Virginia-class submarines.

House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee Chairman Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), who has long been an advocate for building more Virginia-class submarines, on Tuesday criticized the Senate panel for only funding one boat and the Trump administration for only seeking one in its original budget submission.

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