Navy awards $2.4B contract for second Virginia-class submarine at center of a clash between President Trump and Congress

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Stephen Singer, Hartford Courant
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The U.S. Navy announced Friday a $2.4 billion contract to General Dynamics Electric Boat to build a second Virginia-class attack submarine, formally ending a clash over military spending between Congress and then-President Donald Trump,

The announcement “is the exclamation point on Congress’ efforts to protect our nation’s submarine fleet and industrial base,” said Rep. Joe Courtney, the Connecticut Democrat who heads a House Armed Services subcommittee overseeing the Navy.

Electric Boat President Kevin Graney said the contract “maintains the two-ship per year production cadence, provides continuity and development to our skilled workforce and promotes stability in our national supply base.”

Trump cut funding for the submarine in February 2020, drawing immediate criticism from Courtney, whose 2nd Congressional District includes General Dynamics Electric Boat’s Groton shipyard, and Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy.

The proposal, part of Trump’s $4.8 trillion budget, contradicted the Navy’s 2016 “force structure assessment” calling for 355 ships, including 66 attack submarines, Courtney said.

The House restored funding of $6.8 billion for the submarine, but the Senate included just $72 million more than Trump’s budget request of $4.2 billion for only one Virginia-class submarine in 2021.

The federal Office of Management and Budget, which is directed by the White House, reversed course in November and announced its support for full funding for the second Virginia-class submarine.

A joint House-Senate committee approved full funding for the submarine in legislation approved by the House and Senate, but vetoed by Trump over unrelated issues such as his demand for limits on social media companies he said are biased against him and to remove language that allows for the renaming of military bases after Confederate leaders.

The House and Senate overrode the president’s veto.

Electric Boat subcontracts with Huntington Ingalls Industries - Newport News Shipbuilding.

Stephen Singer can be reached at ssinger@courant.com.