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Connecticut Democrats rip Biden’s proposed cuts to sub production

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(The Center Square) — Members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation are criticizing President Joe Biden’s preliminary budget proposal that would cut spending for nuclear submarine production, saying the move would cost jobs and impact the state’s economy.

The Pentagon announced on Monday that it plans to cut a Virginia class submarine built by Groton, Connecticut-based Electric Boat from its proposed fiscal 2025 defense budget.

Congressman Joe Courtney, a ranking member of the House Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, said the move would cut funding for a submarine that has already been “partially paid for and built,” which he said “makes little or no sense.”

“This is just the opening bell,” he said in a statement. “If such a cut is actually enacted, it will remove one more attack submarine from a fleet that is already 17 submarines below the Navy’s long stated requirement of 66.”

Courtney noted a commitment the U.S. Department of Defense and Congress made last year to sell three submarines to our ally Australia and said the cuts would have a “profound impact” as the Navy tries to balance Chinese expansionism in the Indo-Pacific region.

U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, both Democrats, issued a joint statement saying the move would be a “step backward” for Connecticut workers and small businesses who “have been working hard to restore the submarine industrial base.”

“Dialing back submarine procurement in fiscal year 2025 threatens to slow progress in strengthening our nation’s submarine supplier base and workforce, making it more difficult to upgrade our submarine fleet and meet mounting global threats on the timeframe our national security requires,” the lawmakers said.

“We can’t risk slowing the rejuvenation of the submarine industrial base, driven in no small part by local innovation and new good-paying jobs across Connecticut,” they added.

Electric Boat, owned by General Dynamics, is the Navy’s main Virginia-class submarine contractor. The company is working on the program with the Newport News Shipbuilding division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, according to its corporate website. Headquartered in Groton, Connecticut, Electric Boat employs more than 21,500 people.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, a union representing more than 600,000 members, had called on Biden to support full funding for two Virginia-class submarines per year in his FY 2025 budget.

“This industry cannot thrive as a feast-or-famine endeavor,” Brian Bryant, the association’s president, wrote in a February letter to Biden. “A clear market signal of consistent two-per-year funding is absolutely vital to maintain and grow the necessary highly-skilled workforce and promote the industry partnerships needed to ensure success in efficient submarine production.”

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