WASHINGTON — The Senate this week overwhelmingly approved a final version of a $716 billion military authorization bill for the coming fiscal year, which is expected to be signed into law by President Trump.
The bill, favored by the entire Connecticut delegation, spells out how the Pentagon can spend appropriations in the 2019 fiscal year, including a 2.6 percent active-duty pay raise — the largest in almost a decade.
If signed into law, this would mark the first time in two decades that Congress completed work on a National Defense Authorization Act before the October start of the fiscal year.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Armed Services Committee who also served on the bicameral team that hammered out the final NDAA, took credit for adding dollars to defense programs built in Connecticut.
“I fought for an additional $237 million above the President’s request for Columbia Class Advance Procurement, which will be used to expand the submarine industrial base. I successfully restored two F-35 Joint Strike Fighters cut during conference — ultimately securing over $10.4 billion for 77 F-35s — and championed $85 million above the President’s request for an additional five Black Hawk helicopters,” he said.
Senate action comes as lawmakers begin their traditional summer break. The House does not return to session until September, however, the Senate plans to be in for a portion of August. Congress still must complete work on a defense appropriations bill this fall, which actually provides the funding for military programs.
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, a member of the Appropriations Committee that oversees the federal funding for the defense priorities outlined in this authorizing bill, has committed to working across the aisle to ensure that funding is provided for military helicopters, aircraft, and submarines that support Connecticut’s defense manufacturing base.
“Connecticut manufacturers are national leaders when it comes to making the subs, helicopters, and jet engines that keep our country safe. Today’s bill is a huge boost for local jobs,” Murphy said. “I’m going to keep working on the Appropriations Committee to fund these investments.”
Here’s a list of Connecticut priorities that Murphy cited from the NDAA:
• Funds two Virginia-class submarines in FY19, including advanced procurement for future submarines, at $7.618 billion (Electric Boat/Groton)
• Fully funds the Columbia-class submarine at $3.242 billion, and adds $237 million to expand the submarine industrial base (Electric Boat/Groton)
• Fully funds 8 CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopters at $1.068 billion (Sikorsky/Stratford)
• Funds 77 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters at $7.585 billion (Pratt & Whitney/Middletown)
• Fully funds 6 VH-92A Presidential Helicopters at $673 million (Sikorsky/Stratford)
• Fully funds 55 UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters at $1.2 billion (Sikorsky/Stratford)
• Fully funds the Combat Rescue Helicopter at $457 million (Sikorsky/Stratford)