CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.R. 3619 as amended is expected to be considered on the House floor on Wednesday, September 29, 2010, under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. This legislation was introduced by Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN) on April 13, 2010.
H.R. 3619 would authorize approximately $10.2 billion for the U.S Coast Guard (USCG), including an estimated $8.8 billion in discretionary funding, nearly half a billion more than the Coast Guards FY2010 budget levels.
The legislation would also modify USCG acquisition practices, place new regulations on certain commercial vessels, alter U.S. port security regulations, and protect operators of a U.S.-flagged ship from liability for using force against any person that participated in an act of piracy.
Title I – Authorization Levels
The bill would authorize the following amounts to be appropriated:
Title II – Coast Guard
The bill would include a number of administrative and personnel changes to the Coast Guard. Some include the following:
Title III – Shipping and Navigation
The bill would create a civil penalty of $5,000 for possession of a controlled substance on vessels, and require a plan to deliver merchant mariners’ documents by mail.
Additionally, the bill would require the USCG and the EPA to study new technology that reduces emission from cargo or passenger vessels; and lastly, the bill would promote measures such as navigation, vessel escort, and spill response capabilities to help ensure safe and secure shipping in the arctic.
Title IV – Acquisition Reform
The bill would respond to issues involving the Coast Guard’s acquisition programs, by doing the following:
Title V – Coast Guard Modernization
The bill would attempt to modernize the Coast Guard by providing the president with guidelines in regard to reorganizing the USCG’s senior leadership, and establishes center of expertise for members of the Coast Guard.
Additionally, the bill would require the development of a long-term strategy for improving vessel safety, and require the Coast Guard to provide professional courses of study in marine safety.
Title V – Marine Safety
The bill would attempt enhance marine safety, by doing the following:
Title V – Oil Pollution Prevention
H.R. 3916 would attempt to reduce the risk of oil spills by requiring the USCG to promulgate regulations to help reduce the risks of oil spills and requiring a study on the type of human errors that cause oil spills.
The legislation would stipulate that any owner of oil being transported in a single-hulled tank vessel would be liable for oils.
Lastly, the bill would require tank vessels for 100 gorss tons or more to prove financial responsibility to cover oil spills.
Title VIII – Port Security
The bill would enhance port and cargo security, by doing the following:
Title IX – Miscellaneous Provisions
The bill would make a number of miscellaneous changes, including the following:
Title X – Clean Hulls
The bill would align U.S. law with the International Convention on the Control of Harmful AntiFouling Systems on Ships by prohibiting the sale, distribution, or manufacture of organotin or anifouling systems containing organotin (organotin is a chemical that inhibits the growth of marine organisms), and establishing civil penalties for vessels violating this provision in regard to organotin
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. The Coast Guard is composed of approximately 40,000 active duty military personnel, 8,100 reservists, 6,700 civilian employees, and 36,000 volunteers of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Possible Member Concerns:
Members may be concerned with the large increase in discretionary spending. This bill, according to the legislative text, would provide $8.8 billion in discretionary spending for FY2011, nearly $300 million more than FY2010, and $350 million more than the president requested for FY2011.
There is currently no CBO score for the bill. However, authorization levels within the bill provide $10.2 billion for FY2011, including $8.8 billion for discretionary spending, nearly $300 billion more than FY2010. [This section will be updated with an official CBO estimate once it is available].