Last week, with the help of a congressman from Florida, the U.S House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed the “Coast Guard Authorization Act.”
U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., introduced the bill “ which will strengthen, support, and authorize funding for the United States Coast Guard, one of the nation’s six armed services, for its critical missions to safeguard the nation’s borders, facilitate maritime commerce, and ensure maritime safety” two weeks ago. Graves chairs the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The co-sponsors include U.S. Reps. Salud Carbajal, D-Calif., Rick Larsen, D-Wash., and Dan Webster, R-Fla. Larsen leads Democrats on the committee. Webster chairs the U.S. House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, where Carbajal leads the Democrats.
“The men and women of the Coast Guard risk their lives every day to protect our Nation and the lives of those at sea. From assuring the safety of maritime trade through the supply chain crisis, to helping counter undue Chinese influence in the Pacific, to promoting the United States’ redefined role in the rapidly changing Arctic, to stemming the human trafficking and influx of illicit drugs into the country, the Coast Guard is challenged with an ever-growing mission set and no growth in their physical infrastructure assets. Our bill ensures the Coast Guard will have the resources and assets necessary to carry out these and its other critical missions. I’m proud that our Committee approved this critical legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support, and I look forward to a similar result when it’s considered by the full House in the coming weeks,” said Graves.
“The Coast Guard continues to suffer from insufficient funding. In recent years, this has resulted in a $3 billion shoreside infrastructure backlog, a lack of icebreaking capacity in the Arctic and the Great Lakes, as well as reduced capacity across several essential missions such as marine safety and oil spill response. H.R. 2741 works to fix these problems. This legislation provides $14.24 billion for the Coast Guard for fiscal year 2024 and $14.78 billion for fiscal year 2025. These increases over current funding levels should ensure the Service has the resources needed to take care of its servicemembers and enhance their ability to operate new assets that are expected to come online in the coming years,” said Larsen.
“The United States Coast Guard plays a vital role in protecting our coasts, securing maritime trade by protecting our ports and waterways, responding to emergencies and disasters, and countless other missions. But recruitment challenges and insufficient budgets have stretched the Coast Guard thin at a time when its services are at an ever-increasing demand. The bipartisan Coast Guard Authorization Act will provide the resources needed to help with readiness and the Service’s ability to carry out and meet its missions,” said Webster.
“Every single day, the Coast Guard goes to work on the broad range of missions that keep our nation and its citizens safe. They mind the safety of our seas and the security of our waters, protect our seafarers and our beachgoers, and reinforce our national defense. And as the top Democrat on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, I’m proud to once again help lead bipartisan legislation that will have the back of our Coast Guard – providing the resources it needs to complete these missions, support infrastructure and safety upgrades, and improve the quality of life for our Coasties,” said Carbajal.
The bill now heads to the House floor.
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