U.S. Congress authorizes six icebreakers in Pentagon bill

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The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter “Polar Star” docked in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in December 2016. Congress has authorized six icebreakers in this year’s Pentagon bill. (Audrey McAvoy/AP Photo)
The United States’ annual defense policy bill cleared Congress Wednesday with a pay raise for the troops and a provision allowing up to six icebreakers.

If the icebreaker part sounds familiar, that’s because last year’s defense authorization bill had something similar, but it was stripped out before final passage.

This year’s bill, though, is on its way to the president’s desk for his signature.

Congress included a nonbinding note with the bill saying the first of the six heavy icebreakers should be delivered by 2023.

What the bill means to the Pentagon

The bill also allows $287 million in military construction projects for Alaska, according to Sen. Dan Sullivan’s office.

The annual bill authorizes Pentagon programs and provides a budget outline, but the actual spending is decided in the appropriations bills Congress has to pass each year to keep the government operating.

The military pay raise of 2.6 percent is the largest since 2010.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada ill-prepared for Arctic shipping boom, G7 sustainability summit hears, Eye on the Arctic

China: China opens bids for its first nuclear-powered icebreaker, The Independent Barents Observer

Finland: US icebreaker investment could bring 2 billions euro windfall to Finland, Yle News

Norway: Norway to build three large Coast Guard ships for Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Powerful LNG tankers head for China through thick Arctic ice, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Swedish icebreaker heading for North Pole to study melting sea ice, Radio Sweden

United States: U.S. Coast Guard turns to Canada for help with designing its new heavy icebreaker, Radio Canada International

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Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

For more news from Alaska visit Alaska Public Media.

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