WASHINGTON: Connecticut’s two Democratic Senators have split over increasing military spending by $18 billion, [$600 billion total budget in 2015].
Senator Richard Blumenthal a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee voted with only 12 other Senate Democrats to increase the spending regardless of increases in domestic programs.
The defense authorization bill was sponsored by Senator John McCain [R] of Arizona. The bill would have increased added thirty six Sikorsky Helicopters to the Army’s purchases in 2017.
Murphy: No defense spending increase without domestic increase.
Blumenthal: Increase too important to Connecticut manufacturing to reject.
Sikorsky was sold in 2015 by Hartford based United Technologies to Lockheed Martin Corp of Bethesda MD for $9 billion. Sikorsky has more than 7,500 employees in Connecticut and nearly 16,000 company wide. The bill also would have added boosted Pratt and Whitney as well which makes engine for the 11 additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighters included.
Blumenthal said that the budget increase was “critically important to national defense and Connecticut jobs and a core priority for me.”
Senator Chris Murphy insisted however that domestic spending would increase would have to match the additional military spending, citing the Zika Virus aong other priorities.
Sixty votes were needed to pass McCain’s amendment and it was defeated on a 56-42.
Blumenthal said that he also supported “increasing federal spending to combat the Zika virus “and other important goals,” but McCain’s amendment was too important to Connecticut’s manufacturing base to reject, even if it would not increase domestic spending.