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Baldwin Successfully Lobbies Biden for Great Lakes Icebreaker Funding

Baldwin called on Biden administration to boost Great Lakes Icebreaker funding in December, part of long history of fighting for increased icebreaking capacity

WISCONSIN – Senator Tammy Baldwin is applauding President Biden for heeding her calls and including $55 million in funding in his Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget to advance the acquisition of a new United States Coast Guard (USCG) Great Lakes Heavy Icebreaker. The USCG has also requested a subsequent $20 million to expedite the procurement of the parts needed to construct the icebreaker. Senator Baldwin has long advocated for resources for an additional icebreaker to support Wisconsin’s maritime economy, most recently calling on the administration to include at least $40 million in his 2024 annual budget in December 2022. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Baldwin will be working to secure these funds in the Senate’s FY 2024 funding legislation.

“Inadequate icebreaking capacity in the Great Lakes needlessly costs us thousands of American jobs and millions of dollars in business revenue, and it’s high time to address it,” said Senator Baldwin. “Our Made in Wisconsin economy depends on their products getting to market in the winter months and I am proud to have delivered resources to move forward with a new Great Lakes Icebreaker. I applaud the Biden administration for their continued commitment to our Made in Wisconsin economy and I will continue to fight to get this job done for Wisconsin businesses and workers.”

As Chair of the Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Fisheries, Climate Change, and Manufacturing, with jurisdiction over the USCG, Senator Baldwin successfully negotiated the inclusion of her bipartisan Great Lakes Winter Commerce Act in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2022, which authorized $350 million for the acquisition of a new Great Lakes Heavy Icebreaker. The new Great Lakes Heavy Icebreaker will strengthen icebreaking capacity and increase year-round commerce on the Great Lakes. The bill will also create a database specific to icebreaking operations, including unsuccessful attempts to transit during ice season because of inadequate icebreaking.