(The Center Square) — Members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation are touting hundreds of millions of dollars for the state in a new military spending bill.
The Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, approved by the Senate Committee on Appropriations last week, includes more than $331 billion for Connecticut submarine building facilities and veterans’ services, according to lawmakers who pushed for the funding.
The bill includes $112.5 million for the Pier 31 Extension at the New London Submarine base and $219 million for the Weapons Magazine and Ordnance Operations Facility at the New London Submarine Base, according to lawmakers who pushed for the funds.
“This is a major investment in the New London Sub Base that will create good-paying jobs and ensure the base continues to be the finest in the world,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a statement. “These projects will make room for two more Virginia-class submarines on Pier 31 and modernize the weapons storage facilities to current standards.”
The lawmakers cautioned that the panel’s funding approval is only the first step in the process. The money won’t be available until the massive spending bill is passed by Congress and signed into law.
“These major federal investments will support the unparalleled national defense efforts at Submarine Base New London and expand critical health services for veterans across the state,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. “These funds are critical for our naval and underwater defense and security.”
Overall, the proposed spending bill would earmark $154.352 billion in discretionary funding — an increase of $184 million over the current fiscal year — including more than $19 billion for defense and $135 billion in non-defense projects and programs, according to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The bill would pay for 63 major construction projects at military bases and installations worldwide to “enhance resiliency and support warfighter readiness,” the panel said. That includes $1.9 billion to improve and maintain housing for service members and their families.
The increased military spending, if approved, comes after one of Connecticut’s largest military contractors lost a major U.S. Army bid to build the next generation of attack helicopters.
Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company and maker of the iconic Black Hawk helicopters, had bid on a contract to produce its Defiant-X helicopter under a long-term military contract. But the Army awarded the $1.3 billion long-range helicopter contract to Bell Textron, a Texas-based company.
Sikorsky filed a formal protest asking the U.S. Government Accountability Office to review the Army’s decision to reject their bid, but the agency rejected the request.
Lawmakers pointed out that the military spending bill would fund 24 new Black Hawk helicopters and 15 CH-53K heavy lift helicopters built by Sikorsky.
Two years ago, Sikorsky signed an agreement with Connecticut to keep its operations in the state in exchange for hefty tax breaks. The deal made Sikorsky eligible for up to $75 million in tax credits, contingent on it securing several major U.S. military contracts to produce helicopters and other equipment.