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House committee votes to preserve 3 Navy cruisers

A proposed amendment would increase the defense budget by more than $23 billion.

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — The House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday approved a  $23.9 billion increase to the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.

The amendment raises the budget topline to $741 billion from $716 billion, with an additional $4.7 billion for shipbuilding and seapower priorities.

The amendment protects three guided-missile cruisers from decommissioning.

To save money, the Navy had proposed decommissioning seven of the 21 active cruisers in the fleet.

Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Virginia, 2nd District) serves as vice-chair of the committee.

She said increasing funding for the Navy was "essential."

In an interview with 13 News Now, she added: "I think the initial submission missed the mark. We needed to see 3.5 percent real growth in the budget. And this will accomplish that and continue to grow the Navy in a way that we need moving towards the future."

Additionally the provision provides advanced procurement to ramp up production of Virginia class submarines to three per year, three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, one America-class amphibious assault ship, one Constellation-class guided missile Frigate, one Expeditionary Fast Transport and other support ships.

Not everybody supported the increase.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith 9D-Washington) argued that the “single most important thing that the Defense Department needs to do right now is spend its money wisely.”

He added: "If we give them another $23.9 billion, it takes the pressure off. Item after item after item, we have spent billions of dollars without getting anything for that money we have spent. That does not make us safer."

In the end, the amendment passed on a bipartisan vote of 42-17.

The measure must still pass the full House of Representatives. Then, House and Senate negotiators must resolve any differences between the two chambers' versions of the NDAA before it can go to the White House for the President's signature.