U.S. Senate Committee Moves Forward LCS Funding Proposal

This week the Senate Committee on Appropriations approves funding for the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program as part of the 2015 Defense Authorization Act.

Half of the Navy’s contract is being built at Marinette Marine, the other half at a shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

The measure the committee approved would fully fund three ships, along with advanced procurements for a fourth. The full Senate is expected to vote on the measure in the coming weeks.

Eventually it will have to match a House version, which only approved funding for two ships.

“It’s so important the Navy keep its commitment,” U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) said in an interview with Action 2 News. “We still have to be very, very focused on the steps that are yet to come, especially when we get to conference with the House.”

Baldwin said she’s been actively meeting with both supporters and critics of the program.

The Wisconsin delegation, both Democratic and Republican members, support continued funding for the LCS at the state and federal level.

“We invested significant money in our capitol budget to built a maritime center of excellence to make sure these ships were still built here in Northeastern Wisconsin,” Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said. “And we’re going to continue to make the case to our counterparts in Washington.”

Other lawmakers on Capitol Hill have questions, and the Defense Department has proposed ending the program early.

“I’ve also taken the time to sit down with some of the critics of the program to more fully understand their arguments and to frankly help rebut them,” Baldwin said.

The Senate is expected to take up the Defense Authorization Act in September.