The House voted on Wednesday night to create a separate account for the Navy's Ohio-class replacement submarine program, marking a win by defense authorizers over defense appropriators.
Advocates on the House Armed Services Committee created the separate fund in its 2016 defense authorization bill, out of concern that the important, yet expensive, program would crowd out other Navy ship-building programs.
The House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee had a provision in its 2016 defense appropriations bill to block transfers of any money to the account, but an amendment by Rep. Randy ForbesJames (Randy) Randy ForbesDaschle Group hires first GOP lobbyist Overnight Defense: US sanctions NATO ally Turkey over Russian defense system | Veterans groups, top Democrats call for Wilkie's resignation | Gingrich, other Trump loyalists named to Pentagon board Gingrich, other Trump loyalists named to Pentagon advisory panel MORE (R-Va.) and Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) to strip that provision passed by a 321-111 vote.
Forbes and Courtney are the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.
If the fund, called the "sea-based deterrence fund," is created, it would pay for the construction of a $92 billion fleet of ballistic missile submarines. The money would not flow from the Navy's shipbuilding account.
Appropriators argued the move was an attempt to share the cost of the program with other military services, but advocates of the fund say the program is important and needs to be separate from other shipbuilding funding streams.