Courtney picked to negotiate final version of defense policy bill
U.S. Rep Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, is among a group of House lawmakers appointed to negotiate a final version of the defense policy bill for fiscal year 2021, putting him in a key position to advocate for programs that benefit Connecticut’s defense industry.
The bill sets policy for the Department of Defense, including authorizing billions of dollars for U.S. Navy programs including the submarines manufactured by Electric Boat, which is in Courtney’s district. Lawmakers are expected to authorize $740.5 billion for the Pentagon next fiscal year.
In all, 53 Democrats and 30 Republicans were named from the Armed Services Committee and 17 other House panels.
Courtney, who is chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, which has oversight of Navy shipbuilding, has spent much of this year pushing back against a proposal from the Trump administration to build fewer attack submarines next fiscal year than in years past.
The Trump administration’s budget proposal released in February only included one Virginia-class attack submarine, as opposed to the two that have been built annually since 2011. The House’s version of the defense policy bill fully funds construction of two Virginia submarines, while the Senate’s version only partially does.
“We got the job done in the House, and we did it on a bipartisan basis. Our bill authorized the full dollar amount needed to construct both Virginia-class submarines in 2021 — an authorization that’s not only important to meeting the needs of our U.S. Navy, but also to the health of our defense manufacturing sector in eastern Connecticut,” Courtney said in a statement.
House and Senate lawmakers will negotiate differences in their two versions, including debating a proposal to rename military bases named after Confederates and a proposed troop drawdown in Afghanistan, to come up with a final bill.