Congress does not appear close to finding $1 billion to fund a new Coast Guard icebreaker, but Thursday, the Senate Commerce Committee approved a bill authorizing $14 million to plan for one. The money could be used to develop specs, conduct a feasibility study and other “pre-acquisition” work. The amendment was offered by Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Washington state Democrat, with the support of Sen. Dan Sullivan, Republican of Alaska. Cantwell spoke to the need in the committee session.
“There’s no question the Coast Guard deserves the tools it needs to operate in the Arctic, and we need to make sure we’re moving forward on building an Arctic fleet.”
The Coast Guard has received some $10 million for pre-acquisition work in prior years. The bill now moves to the full Senate.