BIW Finalizes Negotiations For 2 Destroyers After Rep. Poliquin’s Amendment Prevents Obstruction in Talks With Navy
WASHINGTON – Congressman Bruce Poliquin (ME-02), whose amendment was critical to preventing negotiations from being obstructed in the last few months, applauded the announcement from Bath Iron Works (BIW) that the shipyard has finalized negotiations with the U.S. Navy for two DDG-51 destroyers.
In July, Congressman Poliquin had his amendment, cosponsored by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, added to a House Defense bill that was critical in blocking a provision that could have obstructed the contract negotiations for the BURKE Class Destroyers at BIW.
Said Congressman Poliquin, “I am extremely pleased with today’s announcement and am thrilled for the thousands of hardworking Maine shipbuilders at BIW, who play an essential role in ensuring our Nation’s defense and strength. America’s might around the world depends on these Maine workers at BIW, and I am proud my amendment and the efforts of Maine’s Delegation have made sure they can continue their mission.”
In July, the Portland Press Herald reported, “Officials at the Bath shipyard, which employs roughly 6,000 workers, said the Poliquin-Pingree amendment was “aimed at preserving shipbuilding jobs in Maine.”” (http://www.pressherald.com/2017/07/13/u-s-house-votes-for-defense-bill-changes-aimed-at-helping-biw/)
In a statement after the amendment’s passage in July, Bath Iron Works said, “Bath Iron Works is grateful for the work of Rep. Poliquin and Rep. Chellie Pingree for advancing legislative language that maintains strong support for the U.S. Navy and for the thousands of men and women in Maine who build Navy ships. By working together and with their Republican and Democratic House colleagues, Congressman Poliquin and Congresswoman Pingree have helped protect funding for construction of Arleigh Burke destroyers in Bath in the House version of the 2018 Defense Authorization bill. The representatives’ advocacy balances the goal of bringing upgrades to our Navy fleet as soon as possible with the need to have a sufficiently complete design.”
Congressman Poliquin, along with the Maine Delegation, will be at BIW tomorrow morning to welcome U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, who will be visiting the shipyard.
Earlier this year, a provision was added to the House FY18 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have retroactively imposed new statutory requirements—including a new radar system (AMDR)—on ships authorized and appropriated in prior fiscal years. This could have obstructed or at least delayed contract negotiations for the two DDG-51 destroyers at BIW.
This provision would have interjected Congress into sensitive, ongoing shipbuilding contract negotiations. Historically, Congress has sought to avoid affecting ongoing contract negotiations. This provision would have established a troublesome precedent for future acquisition programs and contract negotiations.
The Poliquin Amendment excluded the authorized FY16 DDG-51 ships from provisions that would have imposed retroactive requirements and would make it clear that Congress intends that the Navy should bear the contractual burden for the majority of risk on FY17 DDG-51 ship construction slated to incorporate the major AMDR change.
The Poliquin Amendment ensured that the additional DDG-51 destroyer that was authorized in the previous FY16 NDAA stayed on track for construction at BIW. The amendment blocked the provision that would have established new requirements for the ships, ensuring that negotiations would not be obstructed.