Legislation will maintain the Minnesota National Guard’s C-130 fleet and enable a second icebreaker for Duluth

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) announced that a number of her priorities have passed the Senate as part of the bipartisan Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

“With this legislation, we came together across party lines to bolster our national security and support our brave servicemembers. By including the largest pay increase for our servicemembers in more than two decades, we’re doing right by the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our country. We’re also continuing our bipartisan support for the brave Ukrainian people who are fighting for their democracy with security assistance for Ukraine and our NATO Allies.

“I am also proud that the bill includes important resources to address key state priorities such as maintaining the Minnesota National Guard’s C-130 fleet, building a new National Guard readiness facility in New Ulm, and paving the way for the Port of Duluth to receive a second icebreaker. This legislation will ensure our state National Guard can continue contributing to critical disaster response efforts and boost Duluth’s economy by making it easier for goods and products to reach the Port. Now that this legislation has passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support, I look forward to seeing it signed into law.”

The National Defense Authorization Act authorizes significant funding to support our armed forces including resources for military acquisitions, military construction projects, security assistance, and implementation of the National Defense Strategy.

Klobuchar secured language that ensures the Air Force and Reserves will operate at least 271 C-130 aircrafts, ensuring that the Minnesota National Guard will not lose any C-130 aircrafts. She also successfully pushed for more than $17 million in federal resources to help construct a National Guard Readiness Center in New Ulm and $350 million in federal resources to enable the U.S. Coast Guard to acquire a second MACKINAW-class heavy Great Lakes icebreaker.

Other Klobuchar provisions that were passed as part of the NDAA include:

  • The reauthorization and expansion of the Missing Americans Alert Program, also known as Kevin and Avonte’s Program, created by Klobuchar and Senator Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) bipartisan legislation to help families locate missing loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and other developmental disabilities and provide support and training to caregivers and first responders on how to prevent and respond to instances of wandering;
  • Requiring the Federal Voting Assistance Program, a Department of Defense voter assistance and education program, to conduct a study on ways to make voting easier for members of the Armed Forces serving overseas;
  • Provisions based on the Intragovernmental Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, Klobuchar’s legislation with Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Roy Blunt (R-MO). This bill would require the executive branch to enter into cybersecurity information sharing agreements with congressional information technology and security agencies to ensure Congress has access to intelligence to protect congressional networks from cybersecurity threats; and
  • Provisions based on the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act, Klobuchar’s bipartisan legislation with Senator Portman establishing a publicly accessible website with a library of all non-confidential government agency reports.

Klobuchar has long worked to support the Minnesota National Guard and U.S. Coast Guard in Duluth. She toured the Minnesota National Guard’s 148th Airlift Wing in June and the 133th Airlift Wing in May to highlight her support for maintaining its fleet of C-130s and discuss her successful efforts to secure propeller upgrades for eight aircrafts.

In April, at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing to consider the nomination of Admiral Linda Fagan to be U.S. Coast Guard Commandant, Klobuchar received Admiral Fagan’s commitment that the Coast Guard would prioritize acquiring a second icebreaker for Duluth, underscoring the critical role cutters and icebreakers play in boosting the Port of Duluth.