The day after the Trump administration said it would cut from its budget a Coast Guard cutter project championed by Sen. Thad Cochran and set to be built in Pascagoula, the senior senator from Mississippi released a list of ships included in the latest Defense appropriations bill.
Cochran chairs the Appropriations Committee, which put billions of dollars in new shipbuilding in the bill.
Cochran, as chairman of the committee and its Subcommittee on Defense, said there is agreement between the Senate and House on the bill.
“I am optimistic that Congress will approve this agreement and give the Department of Defense what it requires to keep our nation safe and meet the needs of our servicemen and women,” Cochran said in a press release.
The Associated Press on Wednesday reported documents from Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said the administration would cancel a contract to build the $640 million cutter at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula. During Mulvaney’s confirmation, Cochran had said he was unsure whether he would support the OMB pick because Mulvaney had opposed defense spending. Cochran eventually voted for the South Carolina congressman.
Cochran said the spending would modernize the U.S. Navy fleet.
“We’ve tried to make the best decisions possible, within funding limitations, to support national security priorities, which includes modernizing the Navy’s aging fleet,” he said in the release. “We’re funding 10 new ships, three of which were not requested by the previous administration. I’m pleased that our shipbuilders in Mississippi will play an important role in this process.”
The bill would include $1.8 billion for the 13th San Antonio–class LPD amphibious warship built for the Navy.
The measure would also provide $1.6 billion in the budget request for advance procurement of the LHA-8 amphibious assault ship, and $3.6 billion for the construction of three DDG-51 destroyers, one of which would be built in Pascagoula.
Ingalls builds the LPD, DDG 51 and LHA vessels for the Navy.
Overall, the bill would provide $21.2 billion for Navy shipbuilding programs, an increase of $2.8 billion and three ships above the budget request, according to the press release.
The agreement would fund construction of two Virginia-class submarines, three DDG-51 destroyers, three Littoral Combat Ships, one LHA amphibious assault ship and one LPD amphibious transport dock. It also provides advance procurement activities for the Ohio replacement submarine and aircraft carrier replacement programs, as well as advanced procurement funding to accelerate construction of a polar icebreaker ship.
The House could take up the defense-funding measure this week, with Senate consideration to follow, Cochran’s office said in the release. The Defense Department is funded through a continuing resolution that expires April 28.