Freshman U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., a top target for Democrats in November, is taking over as chairman of the U.S. House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee.

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Penn., the chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, named Mast to lead the subcommittee for the rest of the year.

“Oversight of the Coast Guard and the nation’s maritime transportation system is a vital responsibility of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  The Coast Guard, as one of the Nation’s five Armed Services, conducts an array of critical missions on behalf of the American people,” said Shuster.  “Brian is an effective member of this subcommittee and has a firm grasp of the issues.  He understands the critical nature of the Coast Guard’s missions and is ready to take the gavel.”

“Maritime transportation is a critical issue for Florida and the Coast Guard has an important presence in our state, which is why I asked Chairman Bill Shuster for the opportunity to take on leadership of this subcommittee,” Mast said.  “The Coast Guard plays an essential role in maintaining the rule of law on our waterways, including securing our borders and enforcing marine pollution laws.  Working together, I’m confident we can ensure they have the tools they need to succeed at these critical missions.”

“The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation conducts oversight of the United States Coast Guard, the service responsible for enforcing the nation’s laws on waters under U.S. jurisdiction and on the high seas.  The Coast Guard’s many missions include search and rescue, illegal drug and migrant interdiction, oil spill prevention and response, maritime safety and security, maintaining aids to navigation, icebreaking, and enforcement of U.S. fisheries and marine pollution laws,” noted committee staff on Monday. “The subcommittee also has jurisdiction over regulation of ocean shipping, maritime transportation safety, marine environmental protections as they relate to vessel operation, and the Jones Act.  The subcommittee also oversees the merchant marine, except as it relates to national security.”

Mast, an Army veteran who lost both his legs after being wounded in Afghanistan, was first elected to Congress in 2016. Democrats at both the national and state levels, including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), have targeted Mast who faces attorney Lauren Baer in November.

 

Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.

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