The U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed a $708 billion defense budget, approving a larger military including three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers for which Bath Iron Works will compete.
The fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, named for ailing Sen. John S. McCain, passed in the House of Representatives last week. The bill now requires the signature of President Donald Trump to become law.
Both U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, voted in favor of the budget.
The budget deal includes more than a 15 percent increase over 2017. It also includes the largest pay increase for service members in nearly a decade, according to a release from Collins, and legislation by Collins to strengthen NATO cyber defense.
The bill authorizes procurement of three DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, for which BIW will compete with Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding, as well as $250 million in advanced funding for future DDG 51s.
It also includes $271 million for the Zumwalt-class destroyers, the third of which is almost complete at Bath Iron Works.
“This legislation provides essential resources to our military so that it can continue to meet ongoing and emerging threats to our nation and keep the American people secure,” Collins said in a release.
“At a time when we are facing a number of serious threats across the globe, the conference committee has produced a bipartisan bill that makes smart investments in our national defense, and once again funds a number of priorities important to Maine including shipbuilding and infrastructure improvements at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard,” King said in a statement last week.
Funding for the new defense budget, which would take effect Oct. 1., still must be appropriated.
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