|Date||December 5, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)|
|Staff Contact||Lisa Collins|
On Wednesday, December 5, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.Res 825, Providing for the concurrence by the House in the Senate amendments to H.R. 2838, with an amendment, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. The bill was originally introduced by Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) on September 2, 2011, and referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2011 originally passed the House by voice vote on November 15, 2011. The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent with an amendment on September 22, 2012. The following Legislative Digest is based on the text of the bill as posted on the House Majority Leader’s website.
H.Res. 825 would authorize appropriations for the Coast Guard through fiscal year 2014 and for the Maritime Administration through fiscal year 2013. In total, the bill would authorize $17.34 billion for U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) operations and $296 million for the national security aspects of the Maritime Administration.
Sec. 101. Coast Guard Authorization Levels: This section would authorize $17,338,706,000 for the Coast Guard for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 as follows:
Operation and maintenance of the Coast Guard:
Of funds made available for operation and maintenance, $24,500,000 is authorized each fiscal year to be derived from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to carry out the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.
Acquisition, construction, rebuilding, and improvement of aids to navigation, shore and offshore facilities, vessels, and aircraft:
Of funds made available for acquisition, $20,000,000 is authorized each fiscal year to be derived from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to carry out the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.
The Coast Guard Reserve program, including personnel and training costs, equipment, and services:
Environmental compliance and restoration of Coast Guard vessels, aircraft, and facilities (other than parts and equipment associated with operation and maintenance):
To the Commandant of the Coast Guard for research, development, test, and evaluation of technologies, materials, and human factors directly related to improving the performance of the Coast Guard's mission in search and rescue, aids to navigation, marine safety, marine environmental protection, enforcement of laws and treaties, ice operations, oceanographic research, and defense readiness:
For the alteration or removal of bridges over navigable waters of the United States constituting obstructions to navigation, and for personnel and administrative costs associated with the Alteration of Bridges Program:
Sec. 102. Authorized Levels of Military Strength and Training: The bill would authorize end-of-year strength for active duty personnel of 47,000 for each of fiscal years 2013 and 2014. The bill would also authorize average military training student loads for each of fiscal years 2013 and 2014 as follows:
TITLE II—COAST GUARD
Sec. 201. Interference with Coast Guard Transmissions: This section would add that an individual who knowingly and willfully operates a device with the intention of interfering with the broadcast or reception of a radio, microwave, or other signal transmitted, retransmitted, or augmented by the Coast Guard for the purpose of maritime safety is guilty of a class E felony and subject to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 per day for each violation.
Sec. 205. Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence: This section would require a policy on sexual harassment and sexual violence be prescribed for cadets and other Coast Guard Academy personnel.
Sec. 210. Major Acquisitions: This section would require the Secretary to submit to Congress a report on the status of all major acquisition programs. The term “major acquisition program” is defined as an ongoing acquisition undertaken by the Coast Guard with a life-cycle cost estimate greater than or equal to $300,000,000.
Sec. 212. Minor construction: This section would authorize the Coast Guard to expend not more than $1,500,000 from amounts available for the operating expenses for minor construction and improvement projects at any one location. It would also require the Secretary of Homeland Security to report to Congress on each project undertaken during the course of the preceding fiscal year for which the amount expended exceeded $500,000.
Sec. 213. Capital Investment Plan and Annual List of Projects to Congress:This section would require the Commandant to submit a five year Capital Investment Plan and a list of unfunded priorities to Congress at the time the Administration submits its budget request.
Sec. 219. Renewal of Temporary Early Retirement Authority:This section would renew for fiscal years 2013 through 2018, the authority of the Secretary of Homeland Security to offer early retirement to a limited number of Coast Guard personnel.
Sec. 220. Response Boat-Medium Procurement:This section would require the Coast Guard to maintain the schedule and requirements for the total acquisition of 180 boats until the Commandant provides Congress with adequate justification.
Sec. 221. National Security Cutters: This section would specify that the Secretary may enter into multiyear contracts for the procurement of National Security Cutters, and prohibits the Commandant from certifying a sixth National Security Cutter as Ready for Operations until he selects a final design for the Offshore Patrol Cutter and submits a plan on how the National Security Cutters will meet current operational requirements.
Sec. 222. Coast Guard Polar Icebreakers: This section would require the Secretary to conduct a business case analysis of the costs of reactivating and extending the life of the Coast Guard’s Polar Sea icebreaker before it can be decommissioned.
TITLE III—SHIPPING AND NAVIGATION
Sec. 301. Identification of Actions to Enable Qualified United States Flag Capacity to Meet National Defense Requirements: This section would require the Maritime Administrator to identify any actions that could be taken to enable qualified United States flag capacity to meet national defense requirements.
Sec. 305. Dockside Examinations: This section would extend the date on which new fishing vessels must be classified to give the Coast Guard sufficient time to provide guidance to the fishing industry and shipyards.
Sec. 306. Authority to Extend the Duration of Medical Certificates: This section would extend the duration of medical certificates if the Secretary determines that the extension is required to enable the Coast Guard to eliminate a backlog in processing applications, or in response to a national emergency or natural disaster.
Sec. 307. Clarification of Restrictions on American Fisheries Act Vessels: This section would clarify the eligibility of certain fishing vessels to participate in the non-pollock trawl groundfish fisheries in the Northwest Pacific.
Sec. 308. Investigations by Secretary: This section would allow the Secretary to conduct investigations and inspections regarding compliance, including the authority to issue a subpoena to require the attendance of a witness or the production of documents.
Sec. 310. United States Committee on the Marine Transportation System: This section would provide a formal authorization to the existing interagency Committee on the Marine Transportation System. It also would also require the Committee to provide Congress with a strategy on ways to improve the Marine Transportation System every five years.
TITLE IV— MARITIME ADMINISTRATION AUTHORIZATION
Sec. 402. Authorization of Appropriations For National Security Aspects of the Merchant Marine for Fiscal Year 2013: This section would authorize $295,765,000 for the national security aspects of the Maritime Administration for fiscal year 2013:
Sec. 403. Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance: This section would allow the Secretary of Transportation to engage in the environmental study, research, development, assessment and deployment of emerging marine technologies and practices related to the marine transportation system through the use of public vessels under the control of the Maritime Administration or private vessels under United States registry, and through partnerships with academic, public, private, and nongovernmental entities and facilities.
Sec. 404. Property for Instruction Purposes: This section would clarify that the Secretary of Transportation may donate certain excess property to state maritime academies.
Sec. 406. Limitation of National Defense Reserve Fleet Vessels: This section would clarify that federal government-owned vessels over 1,500 gross tons may be eligible for transfer to the National Defense Reserve Fleet.
Sec. 410. Amendments Relating to the National Defense Reserve Fleet: This section would clarify that any vessels participating in the National Defense Reserve Fleet must be available for activation within 5 days.
Sec. 411. Requirement for Barge Design: This section would require the Maritime Administrator to complete the design for a containerized, articulated barge within 270 days of enactment.
Sec. 412. Container-on-Barge Transportation: This section would require the Maritime Administrator to submit an assessment on the potential for using container-on-barge transportation in short sea transportation to Congress within 180 days of enactment.
Sec. 413. Department of Defense National Strategic Ports Study and Comptroller General Studies and Reports on Strategic Ports: This section would express the sense of Congress that the Secretary of Defense should expedite completion of the study of strategic ports in the United States called for in the conference report to accompany the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal year 2012 so that it can be submitted to Congress before July 1, 2013.
Sec. 414. Maritime Workforce Study: This section would require the Comptroller General to conduct a study on the training needs of the maritime workforce.
Sec. 415. Maritime Administration Vessel Recycling Contract Award Practices: This section would require the Comptroller General to conduct an assessment of the source selection procedures and practices used to award the Maritime Administration’s National Defense Reserve Fleet vessel recycling contracts.
Sec. 502. Training for Use of Force Against Piracy: This section would require the Secretary of Transportation to certify a training curriculum for United States mariners on the use of force against pirates within 270 days of enactment.
Sec. 503. Security of Government-Impelled Cargo: This section would require the Secretary of Transportation to direct each department or agency, when responsible for the carriage of equipment, materials or commodities, to provide armed personnel aboard vessels of the United States if the vessels are transiting high-risk waters to ensure the safety of such vessels, contents and crewmembers.
Sec. 504. Actions Taken to Protect Foreign-Flagged Vessels from Piracy: This section would require the Secretary of Defense to provide Congress with a report on actions taken by the Secretary to protect foreign-flagged vessels from acts of piracy on the high seas within 180 days of enactment.
TITLE VI—MARINE DEBRIS
Sec. 603. Purpose: This section would state that the purpose of this Act “is to address the adverse impacts of marine debris on the United States economy, the marine environment, and navigation safety through the identification, determination of sources, assessment, prevention, reduction, and removal of debris.”
Sec. 604. NOAA Marine Debris Program: This section would require the Administrator of NOAA, acting through the debris program and subject to the availability of appropriations to identify, determine sources of, assess, prevent, reduce and remove marine debris with a focus on marine debris posing a threat to living marine resources and navigation safety; provide national and regional coordination to assist States, Indian tribes, and regional organizations in the identification, determination of sources, assessment prevention, reduction and removal of marine debris; undertake efforts to reduce the adverse impacts of lost and discarded fishing gear on living marine resources and navigation safety; undertake outreach and education activities for the public and other stakeholders; and develop interagency plans for timely response to events determined to be severe marine debris events.
Sec. 609. Severe Marine Debris Event Determination: This section would require the Administrator of NOAA to determine whether the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami and Hurricane Sandy each caused a severe marine debris event, within 30 days of enactment.
Sec. 703. Extension of EPA Regulation Moratorium: This section would extend the moratorium for fishing vessels and commercial vessels less than 79 feet from EPA regulation of incidental discharges through December 18, 2014.
Sec. 705. Waivers: This section would authorize the Secretary to issue a fishery endorsement to the Texas Star Casino under limited circumstances and clarify that the passenger vessel Ranger III does not need to comply with certain tank vessel construction standards while owned by the National Park Service.
Sec. 706. National Response Center Notification Requirements: This section would clarify that the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission is a government agency for the purposes of receiving reports of oil and hazardous materials spills into the Ohio River.
Sec. 707. Vessel Determinations: This section would establish the build date for two vessels as the date they were rebuilt if certain conditions are met.
Sec. 708. Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota: This section would clarify that certain vessels operating on Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota, are only subject to state safety standards.
Sec. 709. Transportation Worker Identification Credential Process Reform: This section would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to, within 30 days of enactment, reform the process for Transportation Worker Identification Credential enrollment, activation, issuance, and renewal to require, in total, not more than one in-person visit to a designated enrollment center except in cases in which there are extenuating circumstances.
Sec. 710. Investment Amount: This section would require the Secretary of the Treasury to adjust the investment amount of certain funds in the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.
Sec. 711. Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations Between the United States and Canada: This section would authorize the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish an Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations Program to coordinate the maritime security operations of the United States and Canada to strengthen border security and detect, prevent, suppress, investigate, and respond to terrorism and violations of law related to border security.
Sec. 712. Bridge Permits: This section would authorize the Secretary to receive voluntary services from bridge owners to expedite the issuance of bridge construction and alteration permits.
Sec. 713. Tonnage of Aqueos Acadian: This section would allow the Secretary to consider the tonnage measurements for the vessel Aqueos Acadian to be valid until May 2, 2014.
Sec. 714. Navigability Determination: This section would require the Commandant to submit to Congress an assessment of the impact of additional regulatory requirements imposed on passenger vessels operating on the Ringo Cocke Canal in Louisiana as a result of the covered navigability determination within 180 days of enactment.
Sec. 715. Coast Guard Housing: This section would require the Commandant to submit to Congress the Coast Guard’s National Housing Assessment within 30 days of enactment.
Sec. 716. Assessment of Needs for Additional Cost Guard Presence in High-Latitude Regions: This section would require the Secretary to submit to Congress an assessment of the need for additional Coast Guard prevention and response capability in the high-latitude regions within 180 days of enactment.
Sec. 717. Potential Place of Refuge: This section would require the Commandant to consult with appropriate federal agencies, state and local interests to determine what improvements, if any, are necessary to designate existing ice-free facilities in the Central Bering Sea as a fully functional, year-round Potential Place of Refuge, within one year of enactment.
Sec. 718. Merchant Mariner Medical Evaluation Program: This section would require the Commandant to report to Congress an assessment of the Coast Guard National Maritime Center’s merchant mariner medical evaluation program and alternatives to the program.
Sec. 721. Arctic Deepwater Seaport: This section would require the Commandant to conduct a study on the feasibility of establishing a deepwater seaport in the Arctic to protect and advance strategic United States interests within the Arctic region.
Sec. 722. Risk Assessment of Transporting Canadian Oil Sands: This section would require the Commandant to assess the increased vessel traffic in the Salish Sea (including Puget Sound, the Strait of Georgia, Haro Strait, Rosario Strait, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca) that may occur from the transport of Canadian oil sands oil, and submit the assessment to Congress within 180 days of enactment.
The United States Coast Guard is one of the five armed services of the United States, and was established by Congress in 1915 upon the merging of the Revenue Cutter Service and the United States Lifesaving Service. The legal basis for the Coast Guard is Title 14 of the United States Code, which states: “The Coast Guard as established January 28, 1915, shall be a military service and a branch of the armed forces of the United States at all times.” The Coast Guard later moved to the Department of Transportation in 1967, and on February 25, 2003, it became part of the Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard’s stated mission is to protect the public, the environment, and the United States economic and security interests in any maritime region in which those interests may be at risk, including international waters and America's coasts, ports, and inland waterways.
A CBO score for H.Res. 825, Providing for the concurrence by the House in the Senate amendments to H.R. 2838, with an amendment, was not available as of press time. The bill would authorize a total of $17.6 billion.