BATH — On Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed a defense spending bill for 2020, which includes funding for infrastructure Bath Iron Works provides for the Navy.

The Senate passed the $1.4 trillion appropriations package Thursday afternoon.

Passed the day after the House voted to impeach President Trump, the appropriations packages are the result of months of negotiations between Democrats, Republicans and the Trump administration. The bill includes the Republican-backed $22 million increase to defense spending as well as $25 million to fund gun violence research, which Democrats pushed for.

The president needs to sign both packages, which fund the government through Sept. 30, into law before Friday at midnight to avoid a government shutdown.

The defense spending bill allocates $5.1 billion to build three Arleigh Burke-class (DDG-51) destroyers in the next year, which BIW can compete for contracts to build. The bill also includes $390 million above the president’s budget request for the Arleigh Burke advanced procurement, which amounts to a down payment for an additional ship next year.

Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are the primary type of ship being produced by BIW. The most recent destroyer, the future USS Daniel Inouye, was christened in June making it the 37th ship of its class to be built by the shipyard. This class of guided-missile destroyers is built by only two shipyards: BIW and Mississippi-based Ingalls Shipbuilding.

“Through my senior position on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, I have worked hard to ensure that BIW has a steady workload and the resources it needs to continue to build the highest quality ships for our Navy,” said Sen. Susan Collins. “The National Defense Authorization Act and the appropriations package advanced this week contain significant victories for BIW, including full funding for three DDG-51s and a down payment on an additional destroyer next year as well as investments that will allow the shipyard to prepare for future contracts. BIW is home to the best shipbuilders in the world, and this funding I secured will help them stay competitive far into the future.”

The bill also provides $156 million to fund the completion of the Zumwalt-class (DDG-1000) destroyers, which BIW builds. In the early 2000s, the Navy hoped to build 32 highly advanced Zumwalt-class destroyers, which cost $7 billion per ship and were packed full of the latest technology and a redesigned body that makes them appear much smaller on radar. The Navy later reduced its order to only three due to cost overruns. The last in the class, the future USS Lyndon B. Johnson, is now under construction.

The bill allocates another $1.28 billion for the first ship of the new frigate-class warships. BIW is competing to win the contract to construct 20 the yet-to-be-named ships for the Navy. The winning contractor will be expected to produce two frigates per year from 2021 and 2029 at a cost of about $900 million each.

To help win contracts and built ships on schedule, BIW is undergoing a hiring push. The shipyard currently employs 6,700 and is planning to hire an additional 1,000 workers next year, then add another 600 to 800 workers in 2021, according to Jon Mason, director of human resources for BIW.

The appropriations packages were passed in tandem with the National Defense Authorization Act, which is an authorization bill that directs how federal funds should or should not be used by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Maine Sen. Angus King,  a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed Congress on Tuesday and is awaiting Trump’s signature.

“Each year, the National Defense Authorization Act is example of how legislating should work: thoughtfully crafted, with an emphasis on bipartisanship and national security,” King said in a statement. “This year is no exception. This NDAA will make America safer, support Maine people protecting our nation, and provide much-needed benefits for public servants including a pay increase for and paid parental leave for federal employees. It’s a monumental piece of legislation, and I look forward to seeing the president sign it into law.”


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