Coast Guard authorization act sent for signature

FEBRUARY 2, 2016 – The House of Representatives yesterday unanimously approved the bipartisan Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 4188). The bill, which passed the Senate in December, now goes to the President for his signature.

The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 4188) authorizes Coast Guard and Federal Maritime Commission through fiscal year 2017, and includes provisions to improve Coast Guard mission effectiveness, help modernize the service's aging vessels and other assets, and reform U.S. maritime transportation laws.

The bill, a product of negotiations between the House and the Senate, includes many provisions from a similar Coast Guard bill that unanimously passed the House in May.

H.R. 4188 was introduced by Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Ranking Member John Garamendi (D-CA), Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR).

"I am pleased that the Coast Guard reauthorization bill is finally reaching the President's desk," said Chairman Hunter. "The men and women of the Coast Guard are dedicated to their jobs and fulfill a critical mission every day, and this legislation will help ensure they continue to have the tools they need to be most effective. This bipartisan bill authorizes the Coast Guard for two years and strengthens its ability to recapitalize an aging fleet of cutters and aircraft that are decades past their prime. This legislation also addresses our maritime sector and makes quality regulatory changes to strengthen this important part of our economy. I am certain that we'll have an even stronger and more efficient Coast Guard because of this bill, but, even so, the Coast Guard would not be what it is today if it weren't for the brave men and women who serve and protect our shores and waterways."

"This bipartisan bill provides the U.S. Coast Guard with two years' funding authorization, a clear path for the construction of an essential heavy ice breaker, and a new fleet of offshore cutters," said Ranking Member Garamendi. "These are essential elements necessary for the U.S. Coast Guard to secure our maritime borders, stop drug runners, and provide life-saving response on America's lakes, rivers, and oceans. I am also pleased that this legislation moves the United States one step closer to building a reliable backup navigation and timing signal for GPS. I congratulate Representatives Hunter, DeFazio, and Shuster, and Senators Thune, Nelson, Rubio, and Booker, for their leadership, and I thank them for creating a bipartisan environment that allowed us to work together to achieve the successful passage of this bill."

"Day in and day out, those who serve in the Coast Guard carry out their often thankless duties to protect our waters, our borders, and our laws at sea, and they deserve our strong support. This bill provides the service with the support and the authorities it needs to carry out its vital responsibilities," said Chairman Shuster.

"For more than 100 years, the Coast Guard has kept our ports and waterways secure, protected our shores and communities, and responded to disasters or emergencies affecting our mariners, fishermen, and the general public," said Ranking Member DeFazio. "This two-year reauthorization will provide the Coast Guard with the resources and assets necessary to carry out its missions. It will build up our fleet of essential offshore cutters, and it will finally authorize the design of another critical heavy icebreaker necessary to provide safe passage in the Arctic. I commend Chairmen Shuster and Hunter, and Ranking Member Garamendi for working diligently to pass this bipartisan legislation."

Download a bill summary HERE

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