U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Secures Wins for Wisconsin in Bipartisan Defense Spending Legislation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, secured a number of critical investments for Wisconsin in the final defense spending legislation that passed Congress this week and will be signed into law by the President today.
“I worked to make sure the final bipartisan defense spending bill includes a number of funding provisions that support our veterans and our economy in Wisconsin,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m pleased the President will sign this bipartisan legislation and ensure we are continuing to invest in Wisconsin veterans, workers, manufacturers and our Made in Wisconsin economy.”
Funding for Opioid Drug Abuse Prevention for Veterans
Senator Baldwin was able to secure $56 million in opioid treatment and prevention funding to support service members at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This funding will support the continued opioid safety initiatives and reforms outlined in Senator Baldwin’s Jason Simcakoski Memorial and Promise Act, which was signed into law in 2016.
At Baldwin’s request, the legislation also directs the VA to report to Congress detailing the actions to address each finding and recommendation included in GAO’s May 2018 report on progress made towards improving opioid safety.
Great Lakes Ice Breaker
The legislation adds $4 million in construction and personnel funding to hire the necessary staff for a new program office charged with building a second Great Lakes Icebreaker. The office is required to be set up within 6 months. An additional Great Lakes Ice Breaker will help ensure that vessels can effectively cross the Great Lakes without delay.
Vessel delays caused by the 2018-2019 ice season resulted in the loss of 5,421 jobs that are dependent upon the U.S. fleet's ability to deliver cargo throughout the Great Lakes Region. Businesses that depend upon the region's maritime industry lost over $1 billion in revenues because of delays caused by inadequate icebreaking. Due to the lost business revenue, the federal government lost over $125 million in taxes in addition to the $46 million lost by state and local governments.
Oshkosh Defense Wheeled Vehicles
Senator Baldwin worked to make sure the final defense spending legislation includes full funding for Medium and Heavy wheeled vehicles produced by Oshkosh Defense. Restoring funding to these cuts proposed by the President is a priority that supports hundreds of jobs in small and medium sized businesses across the Midwest and are crucial to our national and economic security.
Continuing her efforts to make sure America is buying what Wisconsin makes, Senator Baldwin pushed to make sure the final bipartisan legislation includes her Buy America amendment that will require certain American-made U.S. Navy ships to be built using domestically-sourced components, including ensuring that the U.S. Navy uses diesel engines produced by Fairbanks Morse Engine in Beloit.
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