Dems could block Alabama-based defense projects unless EPA, IRS get more funding
WASHINGTON — Late last week, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved a Department of Defense funding bill that will support several Alabama projects, including ships being built for the U.S. Navy in Mobile Bay and missiles assembled in Troy.
The bill will send $1.3 billion to south Alabama to build three Littoral Combat Ships and a Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), both built in Austal USA’s Mobile Bay shipyard.
“The LCS is extremely important to our Navy’s ability to respond to current and future threats,” said Senator Shelby (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “It is critical to ensure that the capabilities of our naval fleet are the very best and that our armed forces receive the equipment they need in executing future operations. The funding secured in this bill is positive news for national security, the warfighter, and south Alabama.”
“It is clear that support for the Austal-built Littoral Combat Ship and Joint High Speed Vessel is continuing to build on Capitol Hill,” Congressman Bradley Byrne, a Republican who represents South Alabama told Yellowhammer Friday morning. “These ships are vital to the success of our Navy around the globe, and more and more Members of Congress are starting to realize why the Navy is so supportive of these programs. I will continue to work with Senators Shelby and Sessions to ensure funding continues for the LCS and JHSV programs.”
Though there is wide GOP support for the Defense spending bill, Democrats have threatened to block the appropriations unless Republicans concede to increase spending on the Environmental Protection Agency, the IRS, and other Democratic priorities.
“It is reprehensible for Senate Democrats to threaten to block vital funding for our nation’s military men and women just because they want agencies like the EPA and IRS to have more money,” said Byrne. “Our nation faces a wider range of threats right now than we ever have before, and it would be horribly irresponsible for us to put the safety and security of Americans at risk because some want more federal spending on things completely unrelated to defense.”
Also included in the appropriations bill is an additional $50 million for procuring Javelin Missiles, built in Troy, Alabama, by Lockheed Martin.
According to Shelby, the Army requested funding for the shoulder-fired anti-tank missiles, calling them an important asset for national security.
“It is imperative that Congress provide our military with proper funding for the programs and resources necessary to protect our nation,” said Senator Shelby. “I am pleased that this year’s Department of Defense Appropriations bill supports our top defense priorities, including several of Alabama’s national defense capabilities that will allow our state to continue to play a leading role in serving our armed forces.”
— Elizabeth BeShears (@LizEBeesh) May 5, 2015