Senate to Vote on U.S. Coast Guard Authorization Bill
‘Today, as ever, the United States calls on our Coast Guard to carry out critical safety and security missions with little room for error. Just last year, Coast Guard personnel stopped over seven billion dollars in illegal drugs and contraband from crossing our borders. They guarded and maintained shipping lanes. And they risked their lives to lead heroic rescues after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the Coast Guard Authorization Act:
“We’ll also vote today to advance the Coast Guard Authorization Act. This is an important step for brave men and women whose work often flies under the radar. Today, as ever, the United States calls on our Coast Guard to carry out critical safety and security missions with little room for error. Just last year, Coast Guard personnel stopped over seven billion dollars in illegal drugs and contraband from crossing our borders. They guarded and maintained shipping lanes. And they risked their lives to lead heroic rescues after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
“In addition to authorizing funding for the Coast Guard, this legislation includes a bipartisan measure that is particularly important to states with navigable inland waterways, such as Kentucky, Mississippi, Alaska, and others. I am very proud to have worked with Senators Wicker, Sullivan, Thune, and Rubio to make sure this provision was included.
“In Kentucky, 1,900 miles of navigable waterways are used to ship everything from agriculture to coal. They support 13,000 maritime jobs. And those jobs support countless others throughout America…moving food from the fields, energy to homes and business, and exports to market. But our vessel owners and operators have been saddled with uncertainty. They’ve faced a patchwork of overlapping, duplicative regulations enforced by the Coast Guard, the EPA, and the states. This inefficient regulatory regime unnecessarily raises costs and jeopardizes jobs.
“Our provision, the Commercial Vessel Incidental Discharge Act, would clean up that mess and make life easier for American mariners and vessel operators, while still protecting our environment. It would give them regulatory certainty and a single, uniform, cost-effective standard, enforced by the Coast Guard. This predictable structure will protect our natural resources while ensuring commerce can flow freely to market.
“This provision commands broad bipartisan support. It’s been favorably reported out of the Commerce Committee six times during the last three Congresses, including when my Democratic colleagues controlled the committee. I’m glad that, this year, we have the opportunity to reauthorize funding for our Coast Guard and deliver this key victory at the same time.”
Related Issues: America's Military, Appropriations