July 19, 2013

Kaine, Durbin Tour Newport News Shipbuilding

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Armed Services Committee, welcomed U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, Assistant Majority Leader and Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, to Newport News Shipbuilding today. During the tour, Kaine and Durbin heard from shipyard employees and officials about the unique capabilities of aircraft carriers and submarines and toured construction of the Virginia class submarine, the USS John F. Kennedy, and the USS Gerald R. Ford, which will be prepared for launch in November. 

“The sophistication and quality of work that is done at Newport News Shipbuilding on a daily basis always make a big impression on me,” said Kaine. “Given his critical role on the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, I was glad to invite my friend Senator Durbin to meet with Virginia shipbuilders and discuss key issues regarding the nation's submarine and carrier programs.”

Kaine emphasized the importance of Durbin's visit to the shipyard, which employs more than 22,000 workers, noting that both the authorization of shipbuilding programs and the appropriation of funds are critical to the future of our shipbuilding industrial base. 

“This trip gives me an opportunity to see firsthand the important role the Newport News Shipyard plays for our Navy and the local community,” Durbin said. “While we’re living in a difficult time of fewer resources for expensive projects, carriers and the Navy are important to our national security, U.S. industry and the economy. You have a great supporter in Senator Kaine and I’m thankful he brought me to see the important work being done here as my committee continues to work on next year’s spending bill.”

In June, Kaine won key provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2014 to continue necessary authorization for shipbuilding programs including full funding for the Ford class aircraft carrier programs, two Virginia class submarines, the Ohio class replacement program, and the Littoral Combat Ship program. During the tour, Huntington Ingalls CEO Mike Petters praised Kaine's work on the Armed Services Committee on behalf of Virginia's shipbuilding community. 

“The visit by Senators Durbin and Kaine to Newport News Shipbuilding clearly underscores their understanding of the importance of our industry to America's defense and economic health,” said Huntington Ingalls Industries President and CEO Mike Petters at the conclusion of the visit. “While the tour at NNS rightly focused on aircraft carriers and submarines, the accompanying discussion encompassed the HII portfolio of ships and what they contribute to our nation, to include destroyers, amphibious assault ships and national security cutters.”

Today's tour was Kaine's third visit to Newport News Shipbuilding since he took office in January. Tomorrow Kaine will visit Wise, Norton and Lebanon to participate in community events.

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