Today, after the U.S. Senate voted to overwhelmingly approve a package of bipartisan appropriations bills allocating $1.4 trillion in federal spending divided into two ‘minibus’ packages that together comprise all twelve fiscal year 2020 appropriations bills and will fund all federal agencies and departments for the remainder of the fiscal year, U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) and the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, highlighted important victories in the legislation for Rhode Island's manufacturing industry.
With the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies funding totalling $70.7 billion, Senator Reed announced a number of allocations that will benefit the manufacturing industry in the state, including:
- $1.03 billion for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an increase of $49 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level.
- $146 million for NIST's Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a $6 million increase above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level. Rhode Island’s Polaris MEP will receive an increase of $100,000 under the terms of the agreement.
- $16 million for the new National Network of Manufacturing Institutes (NNMI).
Senator Reed also highlighted victories for submarine construction in the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill fully supports the two submarine build rate for the Virginia-class submarine program and the Virginia Payload Module, an 80-foot section with four large-diameter payload tubes in the center of the Virginia-class submarines.
The NDAA bill also provides $8.3 billion for the Virginia-class submarine program, which supports the nine boat, multi-year $22 billion contract that the Navy and Electric Boat signed earlier this month, which is expected to help create 1,500 jobs at Electric Boat in Rhode Island over the next several years. The bill also fully funds the Columbia-class (Ohio-class Replacement) submarine program.
Senator Reed also led the effort to include $8 million to support submarine industrial base workforce training and education initiatives. This funding could help the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) continue its partnership with area schools, Electric Boat, and other employers to train the next generation of employees in the highly-skilled trades needed for submarine construction.