U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky and the Congressional Steel Caucus are pushing for only American-made steel to be used for naval shipbuilding after the president announced plans to grow the U.S. naval fleet.
Such a requirement would benefit ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor, which typically makes roughly half of the 50,000 tons of steel plate that goes into the average aircraft carrier.
The bipartisan group of Congressmen called upon the administration to require that any future shipbuilding support jobs in the American steel industry, including at the Northwest Indiana mills that ring Lake Michigan. They also asked for the government to consider acquiring aircraft carriers every four years instead of every five years, which they said was needed to grow the fleet and safeguard the U.S. steel industry.
"Aircraft carriers and other naval ships produced by our domestic shipbuilding industry are a vital element of our national defense," Visclosky and the lawmakers wrote in the letter. "As threats to American interests continue to proliferate around the world, our nation increasingly relies on the inherent flexibility and capabilities of the United States Navy and its carrier strike groups comprised of an aircraft carrier, cruisers, destroyers, and submarines. That is why the caucus strongly supports proposals to increase our fleet size."
A single aircraft carrier injects $3 billion into the U.S. economy, supporting jobs in Indiana and 42 other states, the lawmakers wrote. Steelmakers including ArcelorMittal USA provided $265 million worth of steel."
There is no doubt that as a nation we face difficult choices in order to strengthen the economic health of the defense industrial base," the Congressional Steel Caucus wrote in the letter. "As a caucus, we are united in the belief that a healthy domestic steel industry and a strong domestic steel workforce are vital to our nation’s naval shipbuilding industry, our national security, and our economic well-being."