APRIL 29, 2018 —Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is in for the fight of her life during midterm elections this fall as she seeks re-election in Wisconsin. In a state carried by President Trump during the 2016 Presidential election, Senator Baldwin has made shipbuilding an important part of her “Wisconsin First” agenda.
As we reported back in our March 2018 issue of Marine Log, “Senator Floats Made in America Shipbuilding Act,” Senator Baldwin wants to strengthen “Buy American” requirements for the federal government’s purchase of ships by expanding current law to cover all federal agencies, all classes of ships and substantially more shipboard components, including items made in Wisconsin.
The legislation, Made in America Shipbuilding Act (S. 2731), was formally filed this week in the Senate. “Strong Buy American standards drive local economic growth and create good paying jobs that support Wisconsin families,” said Senator Baldwin. She said the new law would “ensure that the federal government, including our military, purchases the highest quality ships and parts needed to carry out its various missions. The Made in America Shipbuilding Act is about doing right by workers in Wisconsin and across the country, and I am urging my Senate colleagues to support this legislation.”
Wisconsin is home to such shipbuilding industry stalwarts as Fincantieri Marine Group, which has shipyards in Marinette, Sturgeon Bay, and Green Bay; deck machinery manufacturer Superior-Lidgerwood-Mundy Co. in Superior; gate, globe, and specialty valve manufacturer Milwaukee Valve Company; crane manufacturer Appleton Marine in Appleton; and engine manufacturer Fairbanks Morse in Beloit. Fairbanks Morse, in fact, is one of 21 Wisconsin companies that provide equipment and components for U.S. aircraft carriers.
Not surprisingly, domestic marine manufacturers welcomed the Senator’s legislation. “A strong domestic Navy supplier base is critical to our country’s Navy shipbuilding infrastructure and to our Nation’s defense. We are appreciative of Tammy Baldwin and her staff’s efforts to maintain the world’s greatest Navy shipbuilding industrial base,” said Rick Giannini, President & CEO, Milwaukee Valve Company.
“The present government procurement processes allow for an increased dependence on foreign supply which is troubling to us as Americans and as manufacturers. Every government contract that creates a job for a foreign manufacturer and their many contractors takes one away from a potential American supplier – a trend that continues to decimate an already fragile U.S. manufacturing base. Senator Baldwin’s Made in America Shipbuilding Act is a great step in reversing this trend by ensuring that mission critical ship components are procured from domestic suppliers,” said Frank Pierri, President of Appleton Marine, Inc.