U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on Department of Defense’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Request

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, released the following statement regarding the Department of Defense’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget request, which proposes cuts to the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program and the Frigate (FF) program that will follow LCS. Congress will now consider the budget request.

The budget request, which was submitted to Congress this week, proposes to reduce the planned purchase of three ships in FY2017 to two ships and to truncate the overall LCS/FF program to 40 ships, down from the planned 52.

In December, reports surfaced that Defense Secretary Ash Carter was planning to propose just one ship in FY2017. In response, Senator Baldwin led a letter to President Obama requesting that he reject this flawed proposal. The President’s budget request released this week now includes two ships in FY2017.

“I cannot support this misguided budget proposal. It does not make sense fiscally or strategically at a time of growing threats and increasing demands on Navy operations. I have consistently and clearly told Defense Secretary Ash Carter and the White House that American national security interests are best served by the Navy’s program of record for the Littoral Combat Ship, which includes three ships in the upcoming fiscal year and 52 total. While it appears that my message had a positive impact in moderating Secretary Carter’s original directive to cut the LCS to one ship in FY2017, the Pentagon’s budget request still comes up well short for American security and Wisconsin’s economy.”

“I am extremely proud to represent Wisconsin’s shipbuilding industry and the skilled workers who build the LCS ships and support the dedicated men and women of the United States military. The LCS is not only essential to America’s national security; it’s also a critical part of our state’s economy. That is why in my three years in the U.S. Senate, I have worked across party lines and fought for this important defense program because it employs thousands of hardworking Wisconsinites and positively impacts not only the local community here but has a ripple effect across the state -- supporting Wisconsin jobs and nearly one hundred Wisconsin companies supplying parts to build the LCS at Marinette Marine. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I intend to fight this proposal at every step of the Congressional budget process.”