Dems Sink Coast Guard Bill

Democrats 'Flip-Flopped Under Partisan Pressure And Voted Against It’


SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “In a dangerous world, the brave men and women of the Coast Guard are ‘always ready’ for the call  -- whether it be to interdict drugs, secure our ports, or conduct daring maritime rescues. They deserve our support. So why did this bill fail? Because it contained an eminently sensible, bipartisan provision to streamline regulations for the mariners and vessel operators who drive America’s maritime economy. This would cut back on duplicative rules and overlapping enforcement, and provide a uniform standard that protects the environment and commerce alike.” (Sen. McConnell, 4/18/2018)

“A Coast Guard reauthorization bill that would have set a single national standard for ballast-water discharges from maritime vessels … failed a key procedural vote in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday…. While the measure received the support of several Democrats … it didn't get enough to cross a 60-vote threshold needed to advance the bill, failing on a 56-42 vote.” (“Great Lakes Invasive Species Threat Halts Ship Ballast-Water Discharge Bill,” Detroit Free Press, 4/18/2018)


Three Democrats Jumped Ship And Filibustered The Bill That Includes The Commercial Vessel Incidental Discharge Act They Cosponsored

SEN. McCONNELL: “In fact, some of the very same Democrats who co-sponsored this very legislation, in this very Congress, just flip-flopped under partisan pressure and voted against it.” (Sen. McConnell, 4/18/2018)

These Democrat cosponsors voted no:

  • Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)
  • Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI)
  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

(S. 168, 115th Congress, Introduced 1/17/2017; S. 140, Roll Call Vote #77: Cloture Motion Rejected, 56-42; R: 48-1; D: 7-39; I 0-2; Coons, Schatz, and Shaheen voted Nay; McConnell voted Nay to allow for another vote on the measure)


Commercial Vessel Incidental Discharge Act Has Broad Bipartisan Support

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD), Senate Commerce Committee Chairman: “[T]he title that our colleagues are complaining about in this bill, the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act or VIDA, has been introduced in the last five congresses, since 2008, several times being led by Democrats. There have been numerous hearings, meetings, protracted negotiations regarding VIDA spanning days, week, months, and years. The bill has been passed out of the Commerce Committee two times this year and multiple times in the past, always by voice vote.…” (Sen. Thune, Floor Remarks, 4/18/2018)

  • SEN. THUNE: “[T]his was a bipartisan bill when it was introduced, and since we have made numerous changes to accommodate concerns, VIDA preserves environmental protections and allows commerce to move.” (Sen. Thune, Floor Remarks, 4/18/2018)

Over the past 4 years, more than 12 Senate Democrats have sponsored similar versions of the Commercial Vessel Incidental Discharge Act, including:

  • Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)
  • Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)
  • Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI)
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
  • Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)
  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
  • Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
  • Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA)
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
  • Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)
  • Sen. Angus King (I-ME)

(S. 168, 115th Congress, Introduced 1/17/2017; S. 373, 114th Congress, Introduced 2/04/2015; S. 2094, 113th Congress, Introduced 3/06/2014)

Similar versions of the Commercial Vessel Incidental Discharge Act were approved by the Senate Commerce Committee by voice vote over the last four years. (“Senate Commerce Sets Rules; Advances Telecom Regulatory Bills,” CQ, 1/24/2017; “Panel Advances Vessel Discharge Standards Bill,” CQ 2/26/2015; “Senate Panel Advances Vessel Discharge Bill,” CQ, 7/23/2014)

Related Issues: Senate Democrats, Regulations