Defense Bill contains big bucks for Hampton Roads, still faces hurdles

The military spending bill passed in Washington this week includes good news for us.

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- The National Defense Authorization Act passed by the Senate this week will bring smiles to the faces of executives and workers at Newport News Shipbuilding, with procurement funds for the aircraft carriers John F. Kennedy and Enterprise, and the re-fuelings and overhauls for the USS Geroge Washington and USS John C. Stennis.

There is $450 million for either a third Virginia Class submarine or a new Columbia class sub.

Plus is a  2.1 percent pay hike for the military and, perhaps best of all, the Act takes no action on a new round of Base Closings.

"There's good news in there for Hampton Roads, shipbuilding, ship repair, a lot of good stuff, pay raises for active duty troops, all of which would have a beneficial effect on the Hampton Roads economy," said retired Navy rear admiral Craig Quigley, who serves as Executive Director of the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance.

Quigley is concerned about what would happen if Congress fails to take action to pass a long-term budget, and, while at it, repeal the Budget Control Act and remove sequestration.

"We're going to once again start the new fiscal year with a Continuing Resolution," he said. "It's three months long. It runs out December 8. That is not the best way to do business. We'll be fine. The question is, what happens after December eighth?"

Quigley said he is encouraged that, because of the urgent need for relief funds for Hurricane Harvey and Irma, and now Maria, that Congress may be compelled to pass a more permanent long-term budget, after nine straight years of Continuing Resolutions.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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