CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Wednesday, December 3, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 5769, the Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014, under a suspension of the rules. H.R. 5769 was introduced on December 1, 2014 by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
H.R. 5769 reauthorizes the activities of the United States Coast Guard at $8.7 billion for fiscal year 2015 (the currently authorized level). Moreover, the bill authorizes an end-of-year strength for active duty Coast Guard Personnel of 43,000 for FY 2015. This legislation supports Coast Guard service members by expanding resources available to build service member housing, ensuring Coast Guard service members receive the same benefits as those in the other Armed Services, and making certain service members in certain fields have opportunity for career advancement. Moreover, it helps to replace aging Coast Guard assets in a cost-effective manner by authorizing funding at a level that will keep critically needed new assets on schedule, encouraging the use of innovative acquisition strategies to reduce costs, and requiring the Coast Guard to reexamine the largest cost drivers in its acquisition program to save taxpayer dollars without reducing mission effectiveness.
Additionally, this legislation enhances the ability of the Coast Guard to work with the private sector to develop new technologies vital for mission success. H.R. 5769 also reduces bureaucracy by removing limitations on the authority of the Secretary of Homeland Security to call up Coast Guard reservists to respond to disasters; extending expedited workforce hiring authorities; and eliminating duplicative and outdated reporting requirements. The bill also protects maritime Arctic interests by providing new authorities to the Coast Guard to ensure the safety of maritime transportation in the Arctic. H.R. 5769 enhances oversight by requiring the Coast Guard to submit an annual authorization request to Congress, and conduct an inventory of its real property in order to determine which property can be divested or consolidated. Furthermore, it protects American taxpayers by prohibiting the Coast Guard from continuing to provide data concerning the location of icebergs in the North Atlantic to foreign flagged vessels unless they reimburse the Coast Guard’s costs.
H.R. 5769 also authorizes $24.7 for the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) in FY 2015, consistent with FY 2014 levels. This legislation requires the Maritime Administration (MARAD) to develop a National Maritime Strategy to improve the competiveness of the U.S. flagged fleet; reduce regulatory burdens on U.S. flagged vessel operators; increase the use of short seas shipping; and enhance U.S. shipbuilding capacity. This legislation also helps create jobs and encourage economic growth by eliminating regulatory barriers veterans experience when seeking employment on U.S. flagged vessels, and prohibits the Coast Guard from imposing federal regulations on small businesses operating on isolated waters. This legislation permanently exempts owners of fishing vessels and small commercial vessels from having to obtain EPA permits before discharging rain water runoff, air conditioner condensate, and bilge water from their vessels. Finally, H.R. 5769 reforms the FMC by restructuring the terms of commissioners and codifying current conflict of interest prohibitions on the action of commissioners.
H.R. 5769 is the result of a bipartisan agreement with Senate concerning H.R. 4005, the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014, which passed in the House by voice on April 1, 2014. A Section-by-Section analysis of the bill can be found here.
A formal CBO cost estimate is currently unavailable, but no cost is expected.
For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.