Shaheen & Bipartisan Group of Senators Introduce SHIPYARD Act to Support National Defense Infrastructure

April 28, 2021

Legislation Would Provide $25 Billion Boost to U.S. Navy’s Maintenance and Construction Shipyards

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) and a bipartisan group of lawmakers to introduce the Supplying Help to Infrastructure in Ports, Yards, and America’s Repair Docks (SHIPYARD) Act of 2021, which would provide $25 billion to make investments needed to optimize, improve and rebuild shipyard facilities, electrical infrastructure, environmental systems, and the equipment of public and private shipyards in the U.S. that support the U.S. Navy fleet. Shaheen and Wicker are co-chairs of the Senate Navy Caucus. They are joined on this legislation by U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME), along with Representatives Rob Wittman (VA-01) and Mike Gallagher (WI-08).

The act would designate $21 billion for the Navy’s four public shipyards in Virginia, Maine, Hawaii and Washington, $2 billion for private new construction shipyards that build the U.S. Navy fleet and $2 billion for Navy private repair shipyards.

“The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is an economic engine of New Hampshire’s Seacoast region and brings immense pride to our state by bolstering its role in support of our national defense. The oldest, continually operating shipyard in the nation, the stability and security of PNSY and its workers are of critical importance,” said Senator Shaheen. “That’s why I’m glad to partner with Senator Wicker and this bipartisan group of lawmakers on this legislation to make robust federal investments in the facilities, infrastructure and equipment at shipyards across the country, including New Hampshire. Modernizing the structures and capabilities of our shipyards is crucial for both our military readiness and our local economies, which is why I urge members on both sides of the aisle to join us in this effort.”

The legislation would help to address a backlog of modernization, maintenance and expansion projects the U.S. Navy has identified at public shipyards and provide the Navy flexibility to support capital improvement projects and other investments at yards that are critical to maintaining and growing the fleet. Projects identified by the Secretary of the Navy would include improvements to shipyard infrastructure, construction of new dry docks and other items to enable these shipyards to keep pace with Navy needs for decades to come.

Among other provisions, the legislation would:

  • Fully fund the Navy’s $21 billion Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP) at the nation’s four public shipyards in Portsmouth, Va., Kittery, Maine, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Bremerton, Wa.
  • Invest $2 billion in commercial repair shipyards, subcontractors and suppliers that maintain the U.S. Navy fleet, allowing the Secretary of the Navy to fund key upgrades and infrastructure modernization projects to address current and future maintenance needs.
  • Invest $2 billion in commercial new construction shipyards, subcontractors and suppliers that build the U.S. Navy fleet, allowing the Secretary of the Navy to fund key upgrades and infrastructure modernization projects to meet current and future Navy capability and capacity needs.
  • Provide all funds via the Defense Production Act, removing typical fiscal year constraints on appropriations and increasing flexibility to enable the Secretary of the Navy to accelerate contract awards.

Click here to read a white paper on the legislation.

Click here to read the full legislative text.

Shaheen is a fierce advocate for Shipyard priorities. Earlier this month, Shaheen met with Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Harker for a visit to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. In the annual defense legislation that was passed by Congress and became law in December, a provision Shaheen supported to authorize $160 million for the Multi-Mission Dry Dock project at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard was successfully included. The annual defense bill also authorized the procurement of two Virginia-class submarines – which are maintained and repaired at the Shipyard. She was instrumental in defending Portsmouth Naval Shipyard construction projects against then-President Trump’s previous threat to divert Shipyard funding towards the border wall. Last year, Shaheen and Hassan joined the New Hampshire and Maine congressional delegations in a letter to then-U.S. Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite inquiring what steps and protocols were in place to safeguard the health and safety of the Shipyard workforce.