House, Senate ok defense bill for 2011; sub plan stays on track

Both the House and Senate have passed the defense authorization bill for fiscal 2011, which keeps the plans to build two submarines a year in 2011 on track.

The bill includes about $16 billion for shipbuilding in 2011, matching the president's budget request. It authorizes increasing Virginia-class submarine production from one to two submarines annually in 2011, in keeping with the contract Electric Boat and the Navy signed two years ago.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, said the bill was good for the nation, the military and the state of Connecticut.

The bill contains a provision for which Courtney was an advocate that will allow dependents of military personnel to be covered under the military's health system until the age of 26. It also authorizes a 1.4 percent pay raise for military personnel.

- Jennifer McDermott

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