This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) that would have eliminated $150 million in federal funding for Navy warships known as LHA 7s. This amendment was offered to legislation authorizing annual funding for Defense Department programs.
Ellison urged support for his amendment: “Congress must reassess our budgetary priorities. We should not be in the business of needlessly increasing defense spending while simultaneously cutting spending for critical services that Americans depend upon. Without my amendment, Congress will needlessly approve $150 million for the LHA 7 amphibious warship program. Now, let me be clear. I'm not against such a program in its own right, but I am against authorizing this funding for FY12 because the Government Accountability Office and the Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower said we shouldn't do it. And they have very good reasons for coming to that conclusion…. according to the Government Accountability Office report…these funds won't even be used in fiscal year 2012. The report states that contractor delays and labor shortages `will likely have implications on the ability of the shipbuilder to start construction of LHA 7 as currently planned.'”
Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS) opposed the amendment: “Put simply, the gentleman's amendment would further delay the funding of a ship that our Navy and Marine Corps wants and needs….My colleague mentioned, by the way, the GAO [Government Accountability Office] report. The Navy strongly disagrees with the GAO report that the gentleman has pointed to. The Navy has the shipbuilder's proposal in hand and at this point is working to complete negotiations to get this ship under contract this year, which may happen as soon as August….It seems to me, as a Member of Congress, that we need to support programs and policies that enable our men and women in uniform to get the best possible equipment at the lowest cost to the taxpayer. The gentleman's amendment does just the opposite. This amendment also jeopardizes American jobs. Nearly 3,500 shipbuilders depend on the ship for work. Cuts to this ship's funding, delays in contracting, and political gamesmanship put these jobs at risk.”
The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 176-241. Voting “yea” were 164 Democrats—including a majority of progressives—and 12 Republicans. 220 Republicans and 21 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have eliminated $150 million in federal funding for Navy warships known as LHA 7.