H.R. 1961: To Amend Title 46, United States Code, to Extend the Exemption from the Fire-Retardant Materials Construction Requirements for Vessels Operating Within the Boundary Line

H.R. 1961

To Amend Title 46, United States Code, to Extend the Exemption from the Fire-Retardant Materials Construction Requirements for Vessels Operating Within the Boundary Line

Date
September 25, 2013 (113th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, September 25, 2013, the House will consider H.R. 1961, a bill to Amend Title 46, United States Code, to Extend the Exemption from the Fire-Retardant Materials Construction Requirement for Vessels Operating Within the Boundary Line, under a suspension of the rules.  The bill was introduced on May 14, 2013 by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) and referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which ordered the bill reported by a voice vote. 

Bill Summary

H.R. 1961 amends vessel inspection law to extend through October 31, 2028, the exemption of certain vessels from the requirement that U.S. passenger vessels having accommodations for at least 50 passengers be constructed of fire-retardant materials in order to be granted a certificate of inspection.  Furthermore, this exemption would apply only to vessels in operation before January 1, 1968 that operate in internal waters.

Background

Current federal law requires passenger vessels with overnight accommodations for 50 or more passengers to be constructed of fire-retardant materials like steel or aluminum.  However, the law included an exemption for certain vessels in operation before 1968 and operating in internal waters.  This exemption, however, expired in 2008. 

H.R. 1961 would extend the exemption through October 31, 2028.  The only vessel that could qualify for the exemption is the Delta Queen, a paddle wheel riverboat built in 1926.  Because the Delta Queen has a wooden superstructure, it was permitted to operate under this exemption.  It has not operated as a passenger vessel since 2008, and this legislation would allow it to resume operations as a passenger vessel.

Cost

The CBO estimates that enacting this legislation would have no impact on the federal budget.[1]

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.