House Passes Defense Bill Authorizing Alabama-Built Ships
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Vice-Chairman of the House Seapower Subcommittee, issued the following statement regarding passage of the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The bill passed by a vote of 356 to 70.
The NDAA sets policy and authorizes spending for the entire U.S. military, and the bill must be passed each year. Following negotiations between the House and the Senate, this year’s NDAA includes authorization for three Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), which are built in-part by Austal USA in Mobile.
Congressman Byrne said: “Today I voted to grow our military, boost military readiness, and help keep the American people safe and secure. This year’s NDAA includes numerous provisions to support our servicemembers and ensure they have the resources necessary to do their job.
“I am specifically thrilled the bill calls for construction of thirteen new Navy vessels, including three more Littoral Combat Ships, which are built in Alabama. A strong and capable Navy is critical to our national security but also vital to global economic stability. Our entire nation is stronger when the United States Navy is stronger.
“I appreciate Chairman Mac Thornberry for his leadership on this legislation, and I look forward to seeing the NDAA signed into law by President Trump.”
Earlier this year, Congressman Byrne warned that the Senate-version of the NDAA failed to adequately support the LCS program and could have resulted in layoffs at the Austal shipyard. Austal USA is the area’s top private sector employer with approximately 4,000 direct employees and thousands of other jobs indirectly tied to the shipyard.
Other important provisions in the Fiscal Year 2018 NDAA include:
- Nearly $700 billion in topline funding for the military;
- Increase in the size of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Army Guard and Reserve, Naval and Air Reserve, and Air Guard;
- Largest pay raise for our troops in eight years;
- Provisions to improve our nation’s nuclear weapon program in light of continued threats from North Korea;
- Efforts to repair and improve our nation’s military infrastructure;
- Reforms to the military’s acquisition process; and
- Ends the “widow’s tax” and preserves special survivor allowance payments to more than 60,000 surviving military spouses.