U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Gets Results for Wisconsin in National Defense Authorization Act

Baldwin’s legislation to strengthen Buy America requirements, protect veterans’ economic security included in NDAA

Fight continues for Wisconsin priorities during the appropriations process

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin voted for the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act that passed the full Senate today and includes a number of measures that deliver results for Wisconsin. The House and Senate will now reconcile their versions of this defense funding bill and send to the President for his signature.

“I voted in favor of this defense authorization legislation because it makes important investments to strengthen our national security and support the health, well-being and economic security of our service members and their families,” said Senator Baldwin. “In particular, I am pleased the bill includes a pay raise for our troops, makes sure that federal Small Shipyard grants support American workers and businesses, and authorizes funding for a number of projects important to Wisconsin’s military personnel, our public health and our Made in Wisconsin economy.”

Strengthening Buy America Standards for Small Shipyard Grants Program

Senator Baldwin’s bipartisan legislation to strengthen Buy America requirements for federal Small Shipyard Grant funding was included in the Senate’s NDAA. The measure will support American businesses, manufacturers and workers.

While Buy American requirements already apply to the Small Shipyard Grant Program, there is a loophole in the Maritime Administration’s rules that allow these federal grants to be used to purchase foreign-made equipment. Baldwin’s provision in NDAA will close this loophole to support American businesses and workers like Marine Travelift in Sturgeon Bay, which employs nearly 200 workers and uses Wisconsin-sourced materials to manufacture boat handling equipment that is exported around the world.  

Reinforcing Navy Shipbuilding in Wisconsin

The bill includes more than $1 billion in initial funding for the Navy’s Future Frigate. Fincantieri Marinette Marine is competing to build this future ship in Wisconsin, which will continue to support Senator Baldwin’s priority of expanding good-paying Made in Wisconsin shipbuilding jobs. Unfortunately, the bill again did not include Baldwin’s amendment that would require American-made Navy ships to be built using domestic-sourced components like diesel engines produced by Fairbanks Morse Engine in Beloit.

Supporting Veteran’s Economic Security

Senator Baldwin secured her HAVEN Act in the final NDAA that she introduced with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to protect the economic security and well-being of veterans and their families who rely on disability benefits and may be experiencing financial hardship.

The HAVEN Act is supported by the American Bankruptcy Institute, American College of Bankruptcy, The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Wounded Warrior Project, Association of the United States Army, Association of the United States Navy, Retired Enlisted Association, Society of Military Widows, Veterans for Common Sense, and the U.S Army Warrant Officers Association.

Combatting Water Contamination in Wisconsin

Senator Baldwin has been taking action to ensure Wisconsin has clean drinking water, including addressing water contamination from chemicals containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

That is why she secured provisions in NDAA that require nationwide environmental testing for PFAS, establish enforceable standards for PFAS in drinking water and authorize funding to develop better testing methods for PFAS in the environment. The bill also clarifies that the Department of Defense is responsible for cleaning up PFAS contamination at National Guard Facilities, including at Wisconsin’s Truax Field.

Protecting Workers against China’s Attempts to Undermine American Industries

Senator Baldwin, along with Senators Cornyn, Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), secured an amendment in NDAA to prevent federal funds from being used by transit agencies to purchase rail cars or buses manufactured by Chinese state-owned, controlled, or subsidized companies.

The Chinese government continues to use a range of state subsidies and predatory practices to support its market ascension in certain sectors of the United States’ economy, including rail manufacturing and bus manufacturing. This amendment would prevent federal transit funds from being used by transit agencies to procure Chinese rail assets and ensure transit agencies develop and execute a cybersecurity plan to protect American industries and national security.

Investing in Hi-Tech Careers in the Chippewa Valley

Senator Baldwin secured an amendment requiring a plan from the Department of Defense to leverage commercial supercomputing for defense, allowing the U.S. and Wisconsin to continue advancing American leadership in supercomputing, provide critical technology to our most difficult research and computational questions, and accelerate the deployment of new computer technology. Cray Computing in Chippewa Falls has been building the world’s leading supercomputers for decades and will be competing to develop and build the next generation of supercomputers. To compete with countries like China, the Department of Defense must begin taking advantage of the innovation, science, research and technology presented by the commercial sector.

Funding Wisconsin Military Construction Projects

The bipartisan defense funding legislation includes $25 million at Wisconsin’s Fort McCoy, $34 million for the development of fighter alert shelters and an F-35 simulator facility at Truax Field, and $25.9 million for a new fuel facility at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee.

While Senator Baldwin voted to pass NDAA, she is disappointed the Senate bill again includes a shortsighted $35 million cut to Oshkosh Defense’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program as well as cuts to Oshkosh’s Medium and Heavy Tactical Wheeled Vehicles.

“I strongly object, once again, to the legislation’s funding reduction to the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle as well as Medium and Heavy wheeled vehicles produced by Oshkosh Defense.  I am disappointed that the Senate refused to adopt my bipartisan amendment to restore funding for Tactical Wheeled Vehicles, a Wisconsin priority that supports hundreds of jobs in small and medium sized businesses across the Midwest, so I will continue my work on the Senate Appropriations Committee to fully fund and support these programs, which are essential to our national and economic security.”