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Senator Baldwin Votes for National Defense Authorization Act to Support Wisconsin’s Service Members, Veterans, and Economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin voted for the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 that supports Wisconsin’s military members, families, and economy. The bill includes the U.S. Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022 and Water Resources Development Act of 2022, among other provisions.

As Chair of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Fisheries, Climate Change, and Manufacturing, with jurisdiction over the U.S. Coast Guard, Senator Baldwin successfully negotiated inclusion of her bipartisan Great Lakes Winter Commerce Act, which will improve the icebreaking capacity of the Great Lakes Fleet and provide $350 million for the Great Lakes Icebreaker (GLIB). For the first time, the USCG Authorization Act will also include a standalone Great Lakes subtitle in the bill.

“I am proud to vote for the bipartisan defense authorization legislation that supports our servicemembers and veterans, strengthens our national security and invests in Wisconsin’s economy,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m thrilled to have included bipartisan provisions in this legislation to strengthen our Made in America economy – including the Invent Here, Make Here Act to ensure technology developed in the U.S. is also manufactured here and my Great Lakes Winter Commerce Act, which will boost our icebreaking resources, support our maritime economy, and protect our Great Lakes for generations to come. I am excited to have included so many provisions in the NDAA that deliver for our servicemembers, veterans, and Made in Wisconsin economy.”

Below are some of the major victories Senator Baldwin secured for Wisconsin in the NDAA:

Boosting the Made in Wisconsin and Made in America Economies

  • Bipartisan Great Lakes Winter Commerce Act – Included in the NDAA is $350 million for the acquisition of a Great Lakes icebreaker and $20 million for the design and selection of icebreaking cutters for operation in the Great Lakes, Northeastern US, and the Arctic. The Great Lakes Ice Breaker 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.
  • Bipartisan Invent Here, Make Here for Homeland Security Act Senator Baldwin’s legislation will better ensure products invented as a result of funding provided by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) are manufactured in America.

Investing in Wisconsin’s Military Installations, Equipment and Infrastructure

  • Ft. McCoy – Senator Baldwin secured a total of $64 million for military infrastructure improvements at Fort McCoy in Monroe County. Specifically, the bill includes $38 million for enlisted barracks and $26 million for officer barracks.
  • Great Lakes Snowmobile Acquisition Plan – the bill directs the Coast Guard to develop a plan for snowmobile procurement to support ice search and rescue efforts. Senator Baldwin also included a study on sufficiency of the Coast Guard’s Aviation Assets, often used in search and rescue on the Great Lakes. These provisions will highlight gaps in capabilities in meeting mission needs and improve the Coast Guard’s search and rescue capacity along the Great Lakes.

Supporting and Honoring Veterans, Service Members and Their Families

  • 4.6% pay raise for uniformed service members and Department of Defense civilian employees.
  • Healthcare for Our Troops – In line with Senator Baldwin’s bipartisan legislation, the bill requires a study on the cost and feasibility of expanding enrollment in TRICARE Reserve Select coverage for National Guard members – including the impact providing health benefits will have on deployment readiness. This provision moves forward Senator Baldwin’s legislation to expand TRICARE Reserve Select coverage to all members of the Guard and Reserve at no cost.
  • Childcare for Coast Guard Members – The bill expands the Coast Guard childcare subsidy program, which helps Coast Guard families pay for childcare services. The bill would authorize $25 million (a 56 percent increase over current authorization) and expand eligibility so families are able to use the subsidy for additional types of childcare, such as nannies and multigenerational support.
  • Opioid Prescribing Practices – Senator Baldwin has pushed for reform on opioid prescribing practices at the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense. The NDAA includes authorizations for a permanent program to improve opioid management in the military health system.
  • Access to Affordable Housing – To address the high cost of housing, Senator Baldwin helped secure a provision last year to help the Department of Defense (DOD) more accurately determine the basic allowance for housing (BAH) for service members. This year’s legislation extends authority to adjust the BAH in high-cost areas and encourages DOD to coordinate efforts to address housing shortages. The bill also requires the Coast Guard to study and develop a plan to improve access to housing.
  • Medical training – The bill would provide increased professional opportunities for medical training for Coast Guard Members as well as help address shortages in medical providers by directing the Coast Guard to allow more Members to obtain postgraduate degrees in medical disciplines.

Supporting America’s Allies

  • The NDAA supports our allies abroad by extending and modifying the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative through Fiscal Year 2023. The bill also authorizes $800 million in Fiscal Year 2023 to provide security assistance to Ukraine.
  • Boosting USCG Capacity in the Indo-Pacific – The bill would require a study on the USCG needs in the Indo-Pacific, to include an assessment on a permanent USCG cutter presence, which would help deter China and increase partner and allied capacity in the region. Senator Baldwin recently spoke to USCG members in Japan about this request.

Preserving the Great Lakes and Investing in Water Infrastructure

  • Milwaukee Storm Water Management – The legislation includes $4.5 million for a storm water management project in Milwaukee. The federal investment will help provide a reduction of combined sewer overflows and better help Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewage District respond to the impacts of climate change.
  • Fox-Wolf Basin Watershed Study – NDAA will provide funds for a study on how the reduced water storage capacity in the Fox-Wolf Basin has resulted in a rise in Lake Winnebago during storm events and following spring snow melt. The study would provide the foundation for future design and construction of green infrastructure to build water storage capacity, which would reduce flooding and improve water quality.
  • Investing in Shoreside Infrastructure – The bill would authorize $1 billion to address infrastructure repair and replacement backlogs at US Coast Guard Stations at locations in need of upgrades and repairs, such as Sturgeon Bay.
  • Water Level Management on Upper Mississippi River – The bill provides the Army Corps with authority for water level management to restore natural habitats in the Upper Mississippi River region, while maintaining navigation.