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Thursday, May 6th, 2021

Senators introduce SHIPYARD Act to support National Defense Infrastructure

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U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Angus King (I-ME), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), along with Reps. Rob Wittman (R-VA), and Mike Gallagher (R-WI), introduced legislation that would address infrastructure needs to support the U.S. Navy.

The legislation, Supplying Help to Infrastructure in Ports, Yards, and America’s Repair Docks (SHIPYARD) Act of 2021, would provide $25 billion in investments in shipyard facilities, electrical infrastructure, environmental systems, and the equipment for public and private shipyards that support the U.S. Navy fleet.

“As lawmakers consider ways to improve our nation’s infrastructure, the facilities that support our Navy fleet should be a part of the conversation,” Wicker said. “Congress has already taken the important step of committing to a larger Navy, but our shipyards are having trouble servicing today’s 296-ship fleet and are clearly insufficient to maintain the 355-ship or larger fleet we need to counter China, Russia, and other adversaries. Now is the time to provide our Navy leaders the support they need to grow and preserve our fleet for generations to come.”

The act would designate $21 billion for the Navy’s four public shipyards in Virginia, Maine, Hawaii, and Washington, as well as $2 billion for major Navy private new construction shipyards and $2 billion for Navy private repair shipyards.

“Virginia’s public and private shipyards are crucial to strengthening our national security,” said Kaine. “This legislation would ensure that our sailors, shipbuilders, and ship repairers have the most up-to-date tools, equipment, and facilities to ensure our Navy remains ready to protect our nation.”

Funds would be distributed via the Defense Production Act, the lawmakers said, to remove typical fiscal year constraints on appropriations and all the Secretary of the Navy to accelerate contract awards.