At separate hearings, Maine’s two U.S. senators Wednesday pressed administration and industry officials about the Trump administration’s proposed shipbuilding budget, noting that it appears to fall short of providing the funds to meet the president’s target of a 355-ship Navy.
At stake are jobs at Maine’s Bath Iron Works.
At a meeting of the Seapower Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee, independent Sen. Angus King pressed John Casey, the executive vice president of BIW’s parent, General Dynamics, to explain how the stated goal of A 355-ship Navy could be met with a budget that calls for only two destroyers per year for several years.
“I can tell you, from an industry point of view, if we want to get to 355 we have to start sooner rather than later, that’s for sure,” Casey said.
“You know, that’s what bothers me with this budget?” King said. “It shows two a year out through 2022.”
Meanwhile, at a meeting of the Appropriations Committee, Republican Sen. Susan Collins raised a similar concern with Acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley.
“As I look at this budget, it appears to continue President [Barack] Obama’s 30-year shipbuilding plan,” Collins said, “and does not seem to reflect the latest assessment by the Navy.”
Stackley said for the next few years expenditures would be focused on readiness, but he said shipbuilding will ramp up in later years.
This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.