May 18, 2011

(Washington, D.C.) –  Senator Jeanne Shaheen today pressed Navy officials at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today to fund critical modernization programs at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. 

Citing the estimated $3 billion backlog of restoration and modernization projects at the four public shipyards – including a $513 million shortfall at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard -- Shaheen questioned Navy Vice Admiral William R. Burke, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics, on how the Navy intends to support much-needed military construction projects at the shipyard.

“A (government) report came out in November that cited several troubling examples of underfunding for maintenance at our shipyards, and they gave several examples at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard—plywood boards replacing broken windows, mold that had been painted over because leaks hadn’t been fixed,” Shaheen said.  “What do we need to do to address those challenges?”

While Shaheen welcomed the Navy’s recent announcement of its plans to invest $100 million in the shipyard, she has pointed out that no military construction funds have been allocated to the shipyard by the executive branch in the last five years.  As a result, the shipyard has had to rely on congressionally directed spending, which Congress has imposed a moratorium on this year.  At previous Armed Services hearings with Navy officials, and in a letter to the director of the Office of Management and Budget, Shaheen has sought answers from the Navy and the Obama administration on how they intend to provide funding for these much-needed shipyard investments through other means.

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