The bipartisan Omnibus funding bill introduced early Tuesday morning would cut a proposed $150 million for the Coast Guard to purchase and crew a commercially-available vessel that would meet the service’s near-term needs for a medium polar icebreaker to fill existing gaps in this mission area.

The proposed fiscal year 2023 appropriation bill doesn’t say why the funding request for the commercial icebreaker was rejected even though the House and Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittees fully funded the proposal this summer in their respective markups.

The Coast Guard sought $125 million to acquire the vessel and $25 million to crew it. Former Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz told Congress earlier this year that it would cost another $125 million to $250 million to fully missionize the ship.

Senate appropriators asked for a detailed life-cycle cost estimate for the commercial icebreaker and how its capabilities would compare to the Polar Security Cutter (PSC), which is the service’s long-term solution for heavy polar icebreaking requirements. House appropriators also suggested that the Coast Guard consider foreign-made commercial icebreakers.

Regarding the PSC, appropriators are proposing $42 million in program management costs for a third ship. The Coast Guard has awarded detailed design and construction contracts for two of the proposed three PSCs, but the program is facing schedule delays and the shipbuilder hasn’t begun construction on the first ship.

The Coast Guard had requested about $167 million for the PSC program and congressional appropriators this summer added another $90 million to purchase long-lead time materials for the vessels. Halter Marine was awarded the initial PSC contract but the company was recently acquired by Bollinger Shipyards.

The Omnibus includes the $60 million requested for post-delivery actions to missionize and operationalize the 10th and 11th high-endurance National Security Cutters being built by HII [HII].

The bill also provides $543 million for the medium-endurance offshore patrol cutter (OPC), $107 million less than requested. The budget would allow for construction of the fifth OPC and long-lead material purchases for the sixth but no funding for hull form licenses or training aids.

The first four OPCs are being built by Eastern Shipbuilding Group and a follow-on competition for the next 11 ships was won by Austal this year. Eastern is protesting the award to Austal.