The U.S. House passed its version of annual legislation that authorizes defense infrastructure to be built Wednesday, which includes potential work for Bath Iron Works.

The House’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act includes funding for three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, the main type of ship BIW builds for the Navy, to be constructed in fiscal year 2022, which runs from Oct. 1, 2021 to Sept. 30, 2022.

The National Defense Authorization Act — or NDAA — is an annual piece of legislation that directs how federal funds should be used by the Defense Department. It authorizes a certain amount of funding for military hardware, including ships for the Navy, but doesn’t determine what companies should get those contracts.

President Biden’s initial military budget draft included funding for only one type of Arleigh Burke instead of two as expected. That cut ship received immediate pushback from lawmakers, including the Maine delegation and lawmakers got to to work proposing amendments that reversed the president’s proposal.

The House’s approved version also authorizes the Navy to enter into a multi-year contract for 15 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers over five years beginning in fiscal year 2023.

Arleigh Burkes, often called the “workhorse of the Navy” by Sen. Angus King, are built by only two shipyards in the country: BIW and its competitor, Mississippi-based Huntington Ingalls. When the Navy has entered into multi-year contracts for several Arleigh Burkes in the past, BIW and Huntington Ingalls have shared the work.

Next, the House and Senate will come together to hash out the differences between their two versions of the defense bill before the final version is brought to the president later this year.


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