US lawmakers approve bipartisan Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation bill

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed H.R. 5769, the Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014, by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 413-3.

The bipartisan, bicameral legislation reauthorizes funding for the United States Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserve, and the Federal Maritime Commission. It also provides policy direction and certainty for these entities and the entire maritime sector. As Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA-03) was a lead negotiator for this compromise, and he helped shepherd the bill through the House.

“This bipartisan legislation promotes a resurgence of our Coast Guard and maritime industries. The new policy direction, funding, and benefits will support the hardworking men and women who work in the field,” said Congressman Garamendi. “The bill requires the development of a new National Maritime Strategy to serve as a compass and guide us as we navigate the contemporary challenges of the maritime world. It reforms the Coast Guard so the service is more flexible and responsive to our nation’s economic and security needs. The bill also bolsters our strategically vital shipbuilding sector, including reauthorization of the small shipyard competitive grant program, new authority to expedite the procurement of Offshore Patrol Cutters, and enhanced enforcement of U.S. cargo preference requirements that support good paying jobs for U.S. seafarers. H.R. 5769 is a good bipartisan, bicameral compromise. I urge the Senate to pass the bill without delay, so that we can help move our country forward.”

H.R. 5769 was the result of an agreement from Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. With today’s passage in the House, the bill will now go to the Senate for its immediate consideration.

The legislation is named in honor of retiring Congressman and long-serving House Transportation Committee Member Howard Coble, the only current Member of Congress to have served in the Coast Guard and a strong supporter of the Service.

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