House of Representatives
H.R. 3409, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2019, was introduced on June 21, 2019 to authorize appropriations for the Coast Guard and the Federal Maritime Commission for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021. For Fiscal Year 2020, $8.1 billion is authorized to be appropriated and for Fiscal Year 2021, 8.5 billion is authorized. This is an increase from the $7.9 billion that was authorized for Fiscal Year 2019. This is the total authorized for all operations, construction, environmental compliance, health care, and other Coast Guard programs.
In addition, this legislation proposes to make substantive changes to laws including:
- Changes to the Coast Guard programs contained in title 14, United States Code.
- Electronic Chart requirements (46 U.S.C. 3105).
- Riding gangs on commercial vessels.
- Coastwise requirements of installation vessels (chapter 551 of title 46, United States Code).
- Prohibition of aiming a laser pointer at a vessel (chapter 700 of title 46, United States Code).
- Requiring engine cut-off switches on recreational vessels.
- Establishing a “Buy America” requirement for small shipyard grants (46 U.S.C. 54101).
- A study on the Modernization of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
- A study on the enforcement of the U.S. Cargo Preference laws.
- An assessment of the Coast Guard Academy by the National Academy of Public Administration including its “cultural competence” (Sec. 802), admissions process (Sec. 804) and minority outreach (sec. 805).
- A sense of the Congress that a new icebreaker is needed for the Great Lakes.
This legislation also authorizes $29 million to be appropriated for the Federal Maritime Commission for fiscal year 2020 and $29.6 million for fiscal year 2021.
H.R. 3409 passed the House of Representatives on July 24, 2019 and awaits action by the Senate. The full text of the House passed bill can be found at this link: HR3409RFS
On July 25, 2019, S. 2297, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2019 was introduced in the Senate to authorize appropriations for the Coast Guard for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021. The Senate bill would authorize $8.8 billion for the Coast Guard for fiscal year 2020 and $8.4 billion for fiscal year 2021.
In addition, this legislation proposes to make substantive changes to law including:
- Increasing the share of Federal for fishing vessel safety grants from 50/50 to 75/25.
- Requires the Coast Guard to enter contracts to build 3 heavy polar icebreakers, 3 medium polar icebreakers, and one heavy icebreaker for the Great Lakes.
- Changes to the Coast Guard personnel and promotion system (Title II, Subtitle A).
- A study by the Government Accountability Office on child care for Coast Guard families.
- Multiple reports including on the effect of extreme weather on the Coast Guard, the International Port Security Program, the surge capacity of the Coast Guard, and the marine inspection program of the Coast Guard.
- Many provisions that are identical to House passed provisions.
S. 2297 authorizes the same amount of appropriations for the Federal Maritime Commission as in the House passed bill, H.R. 3409.
This bill is awaiting consideration by the Full Senate. Typically, this is the time when all Senators can seek to amend the bill through a negotiated process that will allow the bill to be passed by a unanimous voice vote. The text of the bill, as reported by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation can be viewed at this link: S2297RS