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February 6, 2003

Shake up on key House committee
The ever useful Shipyard Chronicle from the Shipbuilders Council of America notes that the the House Appropriations Committee has undertaken a major restructuring of its subcommittee jurisdictions in order to create a new Homeland Security Subcommittee.

The two largest components of Homeland Security--Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Coast Guard currently fall under the jurisdiction of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee. Under the new structure, the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee will become the Homeland Security Subcommittee chaired by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY).

The new subcommittee will have funding authority over the TSA, Coast Guard, Customs, Secret Service, Federal Protective Service, First Responder programs, National Infrastructure Protection (currently under CJS), Animal Plant Inspection Service, National Communications System and Bio-Weapons Defense Center (currently under Defense), various energy and nuclear programs (currently under Energy and Water), Metro Medical Response, Office of Emergency Preparedness, National Stockpile, National Disaster Medical System (currently under Labor-HHS), and FEMA (currently under VA-HUD).

A new Subcommittee on Transportation and Treasury will fund non-homeland security related Department of Transporation accounts including the Federal Aviation Administration, Highways, Transit, Highway Safety, AMTRAK, National Transporation Safety Board, Washington Metro Area Transit Authority, MARAD (currently under CJS) and the Federal Maritime Commission (currently under CJS). The new subcommittee will be chaired by Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK).

Istook's Committee will have an important role in deciding whether the vital Title XI shipbuilding mortgage guarantee program gets more in FY2004 than the derisory $4 million asked for by President Bush.

Meantime, we're still waiting to see at what level the program will be funded for FY2003! The Shipyard Chronicle says that The Senate Omnibus Appropriations Bill as passed on January 23, 2003 includes $32,852,000 for new Title XI loan guarantees in fiscal 2003. The bill also includes just over $4 million for program administration. The House Appropriations Committee did not act on the Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary Appropriations bill for fiscal 2003 leaving the Senate mark as the starting point for negotiations between House and Senate conferees charged with finalizing 2003 spending levels.

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