Updated: Wednesday, 17 Jun 2009, 6:29 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 17 Jun 2009, 1:44 PM EDT
WASHINGTON - The House Armed Services Committee Wednesday approved the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2647), which includes an amendment blocking funding for proposed dredging at Naval Station Mayport.
Mayport is under consideration to become the second East Coast facility with the ability to handle nuclear aircraft carriers. Currently Naval Station Norfolk is the only facility on the East Coast capable of supporting nuclear aircraft carriers. Dredging at Mayport would be one of the first projects needed to upgrade the facility. The Hampton Roads area stands to lose one of the aircraft carriers currently homeported at Naval Station Norfolk if Mayport is upgraded. The most likely carrier to move is the newly commissioned USS George H.W. Bush.
The amendment in the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, co-sponsored by Hampton Roads representatives Glenn Nye, Randy Forbes, and Rob Wittmam, redirects $46.3 million in dredging funds into an account for construction and repairs at Navy and Marine Corps Reserve facilities.
The Congressmen argued that funds for dredging at Mayport should only be allocated after the upcoming 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review.
"We can’t afford to spend our limited defense resources on dredging a redundant port facility when the Navy is facing serious shortfalls in other areas right now," said Congressman Nye in a statement. "Once we have made the strategic decision about homeporting our aircraft carriers, we can decide whether to move forward with dredging, but funding should follow strategy and military necessity, not the other way around."
The 2010 National Defense Authorization Act will next go to the
full House of Representatives for consideration. After that, the
Senate will pass a separate version of the bill, which then must be
reconciled with the House version. The reconciled version
must be approved by both the House and the Senate before going to
the President for his signature.
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