“We have come a long way in one year since we faced down the challenges that sequester introduced in 2013—what I described as ‘stupidity on steroids.’ It’s been a tough fight, but I’m pleased we have emerged with a bill that includes many of the Virginia priorities that are vital to our nation’s defense, especially full funding for our shipbuilding programs and ship repair accounts. These will help bring needed stability to the Hampton Roads workforce and industrial base,” said Senator Warner.
"I'm pleased so many priorities we have fought for – from funding ship repair, to protecting disabled military veterans and retaining our world class shipbuilding fleet – were included in the appropriations bill," said Kaine. "Fully funding our aircraft carrier and Virginia class submarine fleet will help maintain our industrial base while supporting the economy in Hampton Roads. I am hopeful we can swiftly pass this bill that restores funding critical to our nation's defense."
The Omnibus bill provides $572 billion in total Pentagon spending, and $85.2 billion in funding for overseas contingencies operations (OCO).
The following list includes many of the provisions Warner and Kaine advocated for on behalf of Virginia’s defense community that were included in the Appropriations bill:
Military Personnel and Pay and Family Programs: The legislation includes $128.8 billion to provide for 1,361,400 active-duty troops and 833,700 reserve troops and includes a one percent pay raise for the military. The legislation also includes increased spending on important health programs, including $125 million for traumatic brain injury (TBI) and psychological health research, and $20 million for suicide prevention outreach programs.
Ship Depot Maintenance: Navy ship repair accounts are fully-funded for fiscal year 2014. This is a vitally important component of the navy’s overall maintenance cycle and ensures that we get the maximum longevity from our ships. Additionally, it provides valuable certainty for our hardworking ship repair personnel in the public and private shipyards in the Hampton Roads area.
Virginia Class Submarines: Funds the construction ramp up to two Virginia Class submarines per year and provides additional funding to purchase an one extra Virginia class within the next five-year defense plan. The Pentagon will also have the authority to negotiate and execute multi-year funding for the Virginia class and taxpayers get a discount when we buy in bulk: it is estimated that multi-year procurement of the 10-ship Block IV Virginia class submarine will save taxpayers over $4 billion over the construction period of these submarines.
Military Construction: budget funds 14 projects, for a total of $357 million amount, including $54.8 million for buildings and barracks at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, $67 million for a distribution depot in Richmond, and more than $72 million for construction of middle and high school education, road, and instruction facility improvements in Quantico.
Military Retiree Benefits: The legislation exempts medically retired personnel from the 1% reduction in cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) included in the Bipartisan Budget Act. In December, Warner and Kaine introduced the Military Retirement Restoration Act to repeal all COLA reductions and they continue to work toward a replacement for the impacted military retirees. The Omnibus bill also ensures that Survivor Benefits Plans for next of kin are not affected.