On Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee advanced the fiscal year 2021 funding bill for the Department of Defense, which included a $20 million investment championed by Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) to fund the Navy Facility Sustainment, Modernization, and Restoration Program, which will invest in critical infrastructure upgrades at the nation’s four public shipyards – including Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton – to improve resiliency to fires, earthquakes, and other natural hazards.
“This bill includes critical investments to improve the quality of life of our service members, their families, and the civilian workforce that are the lifeblood of our defense communities,” said Rep. Kilmer. “This shipyard investments in this bill are about jobs and about having the backs of the brave women and men who serve our country.”
The legislation also included a $50 million investment Rep. Kilmer advocated for to the Defense Community Infrastructure Program, which funds projects that address commuter workforce issues, school construction, and other local infrastructure that support military instillations like Naval Base Kitsap and Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Kilmer has worked with the City of Bremerton and Kitsap County in hopes of securing federal funds to reduce congestion into the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
Finally, the bill advanced by the Appropriations Committee also included a three percent pay increase for members of the armed forces as well as a provision championed by Rep. Kilmer to repeal three Executive Orders that have made it harder for shipyard workers and other federal employees to negotiate fair pay, benefits, and working conditions.
“I appreciate Representative Kilmer and his team supporting the civilian workers who come in day after day to keep our Navy operational and mission ready so they can help to keep our great nation safe,” said Eric Morse, President of the Bremerton Metal Trades Council.
Rep. Kilmer spoke in support of the legislation before the Committee. The Committee then passed the bill, which will likely be considered by the full House before the end of July.