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Webb, Warner, Forbes, Nye, Scott & Wittman Urge Armed Services Committees to Strip $46.3 Million from Defense Budget for Dredging at Naval Station Mayport

~Virginia Lawmakers Cite Poor Policy, Fiscal Irresponsibility, and Lack of Strategic Justification~

Sep 18 2009

Washington, DC - In a joint letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner, and Congressmen Randy Forbes, Glenn Nye, Bobby Scott, and Rob Wittman urged the Committees not to authorize an appropriation of $46.3 million to dredge the channel and basin at Naval Station Mayport (NS Mayport), Florida in the final National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2010.

The House Armed Services Committee voted overwhelming to remove the funding authorization after an in-depth review by the Committee determined that it was premature to expend $46.3 million to initiate dredging prior to the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). The Senate version contains the authorization which must be resolved by House and Senate conferees.

“Mindful of our increasingly fiscally constrained budget environment, we believe the QDR’s review is the best approach to assess the military necessity, costs, and benefits associated with all aspects of carrier homeporting or port visits at NS Mayport.,” wrote Webb, Warner, Forbes, Nye, Scott and Wittman.

Specifically, the Virginia lawmakers cited the following reasons for the House position to be accepted in conference: Spending nearly $50 million of taxpayer funds before the QDR review is completed is poor policy; the expense of transforming NS Mayport into a homeport for nuclear-powered aircraft carriers is fiscally irresponsible; and the Navy has not justified the strategic or military requirements for deep dredging at NS Mayport nor creating an additional CVN homeport on the East Coast.

Here is the letter:

Virginia Delegation's Letter to Armed Services Committee