Senate panel supports funds for USS Miami repair
Portland Press Herald, Maine
WASHINGTON — A defense budget bill that won approval from a Senate subcommittee includes $150 million to help pay for repairs to a Navy submarine that was damaged by fire in May at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery.
Tuesday's vote by the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee was the first step for a $604 billion defense spending bill for fiscal year 2013.
The bill includes $150 million to help cover the estimated $400 million cost of repairing the USS Miami, which was heavily damaged May 23-24 while drydocked at the Kittery shipyard.
It took firefighters from three states more than 10 hours to extinguish the blaze inside the nuclear-powered sub. A shipyard worker, Casey James Fury, has been charged with starting the blaze.
The proposed spending bill also includes $1 billion for another DDG-51 destroyer to be built in the coming fiscal year, according to the office of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. Collins said Bath Iron Works will compete to build the destroyer.
"This bipartisan effort shows the importance that the Senate has placed on shipbuilding programs and making sure the Navy is prepared to meet its national security commitments around the globe," said Collins, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The subcommittee approved the bill by voice vote Tuesday. The measure would provide $511 billion for the base budget and $93.3 billion for the war in Afghanistan in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.
The bill is nearly $29 billion less than current spending.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.