Funds to Move CSX RR Tracks and to Rebuild Military Retirement Home Still Part of the Bill
of Sen. Trent Lott Filed 5/2/06 GCN
On the Senate floor Senator Lott said:
“This shipyard had $1 billion worth of damage. It is about national security. It is about the Navy. It is about the world’s best ships, and about the men and women who’ve busted to get that shipyard back going. And the same thing happened in Louisiana where men and women went back to work before they had a bed to sleep in. This is doing the right thing. It’s the smart thing for the Navy, too.”
Senator Lott added that this amendment, and others relating to Mississippi and the Gulf, was not done as an “afterthought” but part of an overall plan for hurricane relief which includes getting people back to work and businesses restored as its centerpiece for recovery.
In addition Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) withdrew his amendment questioning expenditures in the supplemental that pertain to the reconstruction of the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport. So, with regard to the three items being questioned by Sen. Coburn and certain “budget hawks” off the Hill in recent weeks ---- funding to move the CSX railroad, funding to restore the shipyards and funds to rebuild the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport --- Mississippi’s Senators have convinced the Senate that all three of these projects are indeed an important part of hurricane recovery along the Gulf Coast and indeed belong in this $100 Billion emergency spending bill for hurricane recovery and the War on Terror. The vote in favor of retaining the CSX funds was 48-47, the vote to retain the shipbuilding funds was, 52 to 47 and the Coburn amendment challenging the Retirement Home expenditure was withdrawn by its author.
Senator Lott said he was very disappointed with the way the Department of Defense has approached rebuilding the home. He said even more than 9 months following the hurricane, the home looks no different than the day after the storm.
“It’s the right thing to do. We’ve got to do something.” He added that the Senate appropriations committee of taking $176 million, combining it with prior unobligated balances and using it to construct a new-multi building campus-style facility located on the grounds of the former Armed Forces home in Gulfport.
Republican leaders have
narrowed the list of amendments to fewer than 10, including some from Sen.
Tom Coburn, R-Okla. He
offered an amendment eliminating a provision requiring the Navy to
reimburse Northrop Grumman Corp. for "business disruption" costs incurred
at their Mississippi and Louisiana shipyards. Critics label the move a
"corporate welfare bailout" that could cost up to $500 million. Estimates
of government liability are as low as $150 million, however, and
Senate Appropriations Chairman Cochran's
aides say the provision could save money in the long run by accelerating
ship delivery while Northrop resolves its insurance claims in court.