In a letter to their colleagues in Congress, Representatives Joe Courtney and Donald Norcross encouraged support for the Courtney-Wittman Amendment to HR 6147. The letter points to strong support from the Metal Trades and other major labor unions.

See the text of the letter below:

Dear Colleague,

We write to urge your support for Courtney-Wittman Amendment #29 to H.R. 6147, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for FY 2019. This amendment, cosponsored by a bipartisan coalition of 22 Members, would provide funding for long lead time materials and give the Navy the option to construct two additional Virginia-class submarines during the next five-year block contract, due to be signed by the end of 2018.

We are proud that major labor unions strongly support this amendment, which will mean more good paying jobs for skilled laborers at shipyards and at hundreds of suppliers across the country.

AFL-CIO Metal Trades Department [Link to full text]

“[T]he Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, is in full support of your efforts to offer a bipartisan amendment to the FY19 House Defense Appropriations bill that will provide funding for the procurement of long lead-time materials necessary to build additional Virginia-class submarines in FY22 and FY23. […] The Department encourages all House members to take the next bold step on behalf of the national security of our nation by approving the funding as called for in the amendment for the building of Virginia Class Submarines in the FY19 House Defense Appropriations bill. […] The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO and its 17 International Unions, which represents 100,000 members actively employed in Navy shipbuilding and related professions strongly supports the increase of our undersea force structure.”

International Brotherhood of Teamsters [Link to full text]

“Since this chamber has already determined that we must prioritize ship building to achieve the 355-ship Navy outlined in the Navy’s 2016 Force Structure Assessment, it only makes sense to do so in the most economical way possible. As the Navy and the defense industry begin negotiating the terms of the “block” contract which will govern submarine production over the next five years, appropriating the proper funds now for these future builds is critical. Congress must take action in order to make any cost savings a reality. I urge you to support the Courtney-Wittman amendment to the FY19 House Defense Appropriations bill when it comes to the floor for a vote.” [Emphasis in original.]

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers [Link to full text]

“The Navy has clearly indicated that there is capacity in the shipbuilding industrial base to build an additional submarine in both 2022 and 2023. However, this industrial base requires stability and clarity in order to provide the most cost-efficient, capable ships and submarines that our nation demands. This amendment fosters that stability and clarity by funding the long lead materials required to support our U.S. industrial base. Furthermore, by utilizing our capacity to produce more submarines, we will also bolster our nation-wide industrial base and strengthen our high-skilled workforce as we ramp up on other high-priority shipbuilding and defense programs. […] On behalf of the thousands of Machinists Union members proudly working in the shipbuilding industry across the United States, I urge you to support the Courtney-Wittman amendment to the FY 2019 House Defense Appropriations bill to rebuild our nation’s diminishing submarine fleet.[Emphasis in original.]

International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers [Link to full text]

“The proposed funding levels and offsets in this amendment have already been approved by the House of Representatives in the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act. By providing a strong boost in submarine funding, Congress will give the Navy the resources it needs to complete the next multi-year contract for the additional submarines our nation desperately needs. Highly skilled Boilermakers have proudly worked in the U.S. defense shipbuilding industry for over 75 years and we add our voice in support of this vitally important amendment to the FY2019 House defense appropriations bill.”

We again strongly encourage you to support Courtney-Wittman amendment #29 to seize an opportunity to boost our submarine force. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Gabe Sehr ( in Joe Courtney’s office.


Member of Congress

Member of Congress