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Kaine In Carrier Hearing: I’m Proud To Represent The Thousands Of Shipbuilders Who Manufacture The Largest And Most Complicated Items On The Planet

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Gerald R. Ford-class carrier program, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine highlighted the work of the shipbuilders constructing the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) at Newport News Shipbuilding and the challenges of the cost-estimation process for first-in-class ships.

“I’m proud to represent the thousands of shipbuilders who manufacture the largest and most complicated items on the planet Earth: nuclear aircraft carriers and subs,” Kaine said. “I agree that there are very systemic issues that are demonstrated with [the Ford class] that we need to tackle. … I would say that a lot of this is less an overrun than poor cost estimation.”

Kaine went on to highlight examples of successful shipbuilding programs - the Ticonderoga, the Arleigh Burke, and the Virginia-class - to illustrate the frequent discrepancy between cost estimates and procurement costs for lead ships, as well as the cost reductions these programs ultimately realized across their production.

During the hearing, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman U.S. Senator John McCain praised Kaine’s committee work involving Ford-class carriers and his advocacy on behalf of shipyard workers in Hampton Roads.

“I’d like to point out that Senator Kaine has been more involved in this situation, regarding this carrier than any member of this committee,” McCain said. “He has been very constructive, he’s been incredibly helpful informing this committee and he is a strong advocate for the men and women who are doing great work in the construction of these aircraft carriers, and arguably one of the finest shipyards in the world.”

Through his work on the Armed Services Committee, Senator Kaine also helped ensure the USS George Washington would be refueled and overhauled, preserving the U.S. Navy’s 11 aircraft carrier fleet and supporting thousands of jobs across the Hampton Roads region.