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Bipartisan agreement on Coast Guard authorization

Written by Nick Blenkey
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DECEMBER 1, 2014 —The Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee announced today that they have reached a bipartisan agreement on legislation that authorizes the U.S. Coast Guard and its vital missions.

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 (for 5½ years active duty and 22 years in the Reserve), and a strong supporter of the Service.

howard cobleRep. Howard Coble

House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), House Transportation Committee Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall, II (D-WV),  and Senate Commerce Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD) released the following statement in making today’s announcement:

“Day in and day out, the dedicated men and women of the Coast Guard enforce U.S. law on our waterways and the high seas, protecting the lives of those at sea, and securing our borders against illegal drug and human trafficking.  This bipartisan, bicameral measure helps ensure that the Service has the necessary tools to carry out its important missions, and also recognizes how essential a healthy maritime transportation sector is to our economy, our competiveness, and our national security.”

House and Senate negotiations on the final measure began earlier this year, after the House approved legislation reauthorizing the Coast Guard on April 1, 2014.  The newly announced bipartisan agreement is expected to be considered in the House under suspension of the rules Wednesday, December 3rd, and similar efforts to consider the measure will also occur in the Senate this week.

The Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 (H.R. 5769) includes provisions that:

Authorize the Coast Guard for fiscal year 2015 at fiscally responsible levels
Support Coast Guard servicemembers and their families
Help replace and modernize aging Coast Guard assets in a cost effective manner
Provide new authorities the Coast Guard needs to prepare for its operations and for the safety of maritime transportation in the Arctic
Encourage the Coast Guard to work with the private sector
Enhance Congressional oversight
Improve Coast Guard acquisition activities
Work to reduce the Coast Guard’s excess property inventory
Require development of a National Maritime Strategy
Create opportunities for veterans
Support U.S. flagged and crewed vessels
Reduce regulatory burdens to create jobs and encourage economic growth
Reform the Federal Maritime Commission

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