Dem senator presses Trump for combat ship funding

Dem senator presses Trump for combat ship funding
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Democratic Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinDemocrats confront 'Rubik's cube on steroids' Warren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack This week: Democrats kick off chaotic fall with Biden's agenda at stake MORE (Wis.) on Friday urged President Trump to “preserve American jobs” by funding three Littoral Combat Ships in the upcoming defense spending bill.

“You have spoken forcefully about your promises to build a 350-ship Navy, revitalize American manufacturing, strengthen the defense industrial base, and preserve American jobs, especially in the Midwest,” Baldwin wrote in a letter sent to Trump.

“I am writing to urge you to uphold these commitments and to share my strong belief that their fulfillment requires the inclusion of funding for three Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) in your forthcoming Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget request.”

Baldwin argued the ship “represents the best balance between cost and capability,” which is needed to reach Trump’s long-touted promise to grow the Navy from 274 ships to 350.

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She adds that the Lockheed Martin shipyard that produces LCS in Marinette, Wis. – her home state – employs more that 2,200 workers and supports 4,700 jobs in the state’s supply chain.

Baldwin warned that if less than three LCS are in Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget request, it would result in up to 1,850 layoffs in the Midwest beginning next summer.

“Layoffs of this magnitude would have dire impacts on the ability of the Marinette shipyard and supply chain to compete for the Navy’s Frigate, which will soon follow the LCS,” she wrote. “That would result in reduced competition in the Frigate acquisition, driving up costs to the taxpayer, and harm to our national security by undercutting the strength of our domestic industrial base.”

There is not yet a Navy plan for a fleet of 350 ships, but it would require a significant uptick in service funding. U.S. Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran said in March that the Navy would need about $150 billion over seven years – or about $21 billion extra per year - to “jumpstart” such an undertaking.