Ranking Member Garamendi Helps Lead Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Bill which Passes Senate, House and will be Signed into Law
Bipartisan Bill will Strengthen our Economy and National Security and
Includes Garamendi’s Growing American Shipping Act
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Senate and House of Representatives both passed S. 2444, the Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 by unanimous consent. The bill now heads to the President’s desk, where it will be signed into law. This bipartisan legislation reauthorizes funding for the United States Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserve, and the Federal Maritime Commission. It also provides policy direction and certainty for these entities and the entire maritime sector. As Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA-03) worked closely with Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA-5) to write the bill; negotiated a bipartisan, bicameral compromise; and built support for passage through both chambers of Congress and with the Administration.
“I am pleased that even in a partisan environment, the House, Senate, and the White House are coming together on legislation that will strengthen our Coast Guard and maritime businesses. I am also pleased that this legislation includes my bipartisan Growing American Shipping Act, which says that when it is deemed appropriate to export LNG, it should be on American-flagged vessels,” said Congressman Garamendi. “This bill will modernize our Coast Guard, make our maritime businesses more competitive, and strengthen American shipbuilding – the backbone of our maritime sector. While the bill has some minor flaws, on balance, it is a very good compromise that will strengthen our economy and national security.”
Garamendi added, “I commend Coast Guard Subcommittee Chairman Duncan Hunter, and also Chairman Bill Shuster and Ranking Member Nick Rahall of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for their bipartisan leadership on this legislation. I also want to thank Senator Rockefeller and Senator Thune for their invaluable cooperation throughout our negotiations, and for their yeoman efforts to expedite clearance of the bill today.”
The Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 (S. 2444) includes provisions that:
- Authorize the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserve for fiscal year 2015;
- Support Coast Guard servicemembers and their families by providing new child care and family support programs;
- Require development of a comprehensive National Maritime Strategy;
- Reauthorize the small shipyard competitive grant program, which in 2011 awarded a $1.4 million grant to a facility in Alameda County;
- Provide new guidance to the Coast Guard as it continues to rebuild its offshore fleet of cutters, including the granting of multi-year procurement authority for the new Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) which will help expedite the construction of this new class of cutter once a final design is selected next year;
- Clarify existing authorities to promote the use of U.S. flag vessels in the export of LNG;
- Strengthen cooperation between the Coast Guard and State Maritime Academies, including California Maritime Academy in Vallejo, by codifying the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee;
- Help replace and modernize aging Coast Guard assets in a cost-effective manner;
- Provide new directives that the Coast Guard needs to prepare for full-time operations and for the safety of maritime transportation in the Arctic, including authority to reactivate the heavy icebreaker Polar Sea;
- Provide explicit cooperative agreement authority to enhance the Coast Guard’s ability to develop beneficial partnerships with other maritime stakeholders, including private businesses, nonprofits, and foreign governments;
- Improve Coast Guard acquisition activities;
- Enhance Congressional oversight; and
- Create opportunities for veterans to transition to careers in the Merchant Marine.
The legislation is named in honor of retiring Congressman and long-serving House Transportation Committee Member Howard Coble, the only current Member of Congress to have served in the Coast Guard and a strong supporter of the Service.