Senate Passes Coast Guard, Inland Waterways Legislation
‘America calls on our Coast Guard to protect our ports and coasts. To safeguard the shipping lanes that enable American commerce. To stem the tide of illegal drugs before they reach our shores. And to brave even the fiercest natural disasters to save American lives. They always answer the call. They’re always ready. So it’s our obligation as a Congress to keep the Coast Guard authorized and adequately resourced to do the job. When we pass the legislation before us, we will do just that.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding U.S. Coast Guard funding reauthorization legislation and the president’s nominee to serve on the Federal Reserve Board, Michelle Bowman:
“We voted yesterday to advance important legislation that will preserve our national security, ensure our readiness and expand economic opportunity. The bill before us to reauthorize Coast Guard funding will ensure that the brave men and women who put themselves in harm’s way every single day have access to the resources they need.
“America calls on our Coast Guard to protect our ports and coasts. To safeguard the shipping lanes that enable American commerce. To stem the tide of illegal drugs before they reach our shores. And to brave even the fiercest natural disasters to save American lives. They always answer the call. They’re always ready. So it’s our obligation as a Congress to keep the Coast Guard authorized and adequately resourced to do the job. When we pass the legislation before us, we will do just that.
“And we’ll do even more -- because this bill also includes important reforms that will streamline needlessly complicated government regulations and help communities and small businesses harness the great resource that is America’s waterways. My home state of Kentucky alone is home to 1,900-plus miles of navigable waterways. They support 13,000 jobs. This bill includes a major victory for those Kentuckians and for more Americans in a number of other states.
“The Vessel Incidental Discharge Act will unwind the confusing, redundant tangle of rules and regulations that states, the EPA, and the Coast Guard have all piled onto vessel owners and barge operators who are just trying to make a living. With this legislation, that tangled mess will go away. It’ll be replaced by a single, efficient, and uniform standard which the Coast Guard will enforce.
“It’s a commonsense step, and it’s something that has been a thoroughly bipartisan priority. This legislation passed the Commerce Committee on a voice vote. It’s actually been reported out several different times, including under Democrat control. So I look forward to delivering these important measures for the Coast Guard, for Kentuckians, and for many more Americans when we pass this legislation later today.
“And today, we’ll also vote to advance the nomination of Michelle Bowman to serve on the Federal Reserve Board. Ms. Bowman brings experience as a community banker and as a banking regulator, currently serving as the State Banking Commissioner of Kansas. Her nomination comes before us in a year when the Senate has taken substantive legislative action on behalf of America’s community banks, and the communities they serve.
“As we were reminded when we passed bipartisan reforms to Dodd-Frank a few months ago, smaller lenders provide more than 50 percent of small business loans and nearly 80 percent of agricultural loans nationwide. So it’s as important now as ever that these institutions and their needs are represented on the Federal Reserve Board. By any standard, Ms. Bowman is very well prepared to serve in a seat designated specifically for an expert on community banking. So I urge each of my colleagues to join me in voting to confirm another of the President’s well-qualified nominees to federal service.”
Related Issues: Nominations, America's Military