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Blumenthal Statement On Senate Cloture Vote On Defense Authorization

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Airland Subcommittee, today released the following statement after the Senate invoked cloture – a procedural step – on the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets policy and spending levels for the Department of Defense. The Senate is expected to vote on the NDAA on Friday.

“This bill brings us to the brink of a momentous victory at Coltsville, which will finally achieve National Park designation,” said Sen. Blumenthal. 

“By clearing this important procedural hurdle, the NDAA moves closer to becoming law, and defense programs that are critical to our national security and Connecticut’s industrial base move closer to reality. Because of this bill, workers at Electric Boat will continue to build two Virginia-class submarines a year, workers at Pratt & Whitney will build the engines for more than 30 Joint Strike Fighters, and workers at Sikorsky will build more than 100 helicopters to ensure that our servicemen and women have the best equipment in the world I will fight strongly for approval of this very significant measure for Connecticut and our national security.”

The measure supports the following priority programs that Blumenthal fought to support: 

The bill establish a new unit of the National Park System within the Coltsville Historic District

  • The bill authorizes $5.9 billion for the procurement of two Virginia-class submarines. Additionally, $1.3 billion is authorized for further research and development into the Ohio-class replacement program. 
  • The bill will authorize $5.9 billion in total funding for the continued development of the Joint Strike Fighter program, to include the acquisition of 34 JSF aircraft, powered by Pratt & Whitney engines. Specifically, the bill includes funding for 26 F-35As for the Air Force, six F-35Bs for the Marine Corps, and two Navy F-35Cs.
  • The bill will authorize over $2.4 billion in funding to procure Sikorsky helicopters, to include 85 UH-60 Black Hawks, 29 MH-60R Seahawks and 8 MH-60S Knighthawks.  This represents a budget request increase of $103 million to procure six additional UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters in order to modernize the Army National Guard.  Additionally, the budget authorizes an additional $573 million in research and development of the Marine Corps CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter.
  • The bill authorizes $351 million for the Iron Dome missile defense system.
  • The bill authorizes $37.3 million for M4 carbines to support the Kurdish and Iraqi security forces combat ISIL. 
  • The bill authorizes $16.3 million for a C-130 Fuel and Corrosion Center at Bradley Air National Guard Base in Connecticut.
  • The bill prohibits the retirement of the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft.