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Senate Passes CR Good Through March 4

The Senate late today passed its version of the Continuing Resolution set to fund the government at FY-10 levels through March 4. The last minute funding legislation is now off to House where it will be voted on before the current temporary spending measure expires at midnight.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this spending package is the fact that the Senate granted the Navy permission to move ahead with its plan to buy a total of 20 of both classes of Littoral Combat Ship built by Lockheed Martin and Austal USA. The sea service claims the move will save $2.9 billion over the original plan to award a contract for 19 ships of one class built by either Lockheed or Austal and allow for the purchase of an additional ship. The Navy plans to take the cash it saves from the deal and put it towards other shipbuilding needs.

This comes over the objections of former Navy man Sen. John McCain, who during a hearing last week called the formerly-troubled LCS program an embarrassment and urged lawmakers to put off a decision on the dual buy for several months so the issue could be studied further. Navy officials responded that if they weren't allowed to move ahead with the split purchase by the end of December, they would move ahead with their original plan.

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