Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014by Representative John Garamendi
Posted on 2014-04-01
GARAMENDI. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may
H.R. 4005, the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014, is bipartisan legislation.
Maintaining a safe, reliable, and efficient maritime economy enables foreign and domestic trade to fuel the U.S. economy, and it remains vital. This legislation will provide the Coast Guard with the resources and policy tools it needs to fulfill its vital missions.
I want to thank Chairman Hunter and his staff for their willingness to work with me and several of the Democratic Members, and I also want to commend Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member Nick Rahall for their valuable contributions to this bill. We thank the gentlemen.
H.R. 4005 will provide not only the budget stability for the Coast Guard for the next 2 years, it will also advance several important initiatives to revitalize our U.S. maritime industry.
For example, H.R. 4005 will better align the Coast Guard's mission needs with its long-term capital planning and annual budgetary processes, and explicit cooperative agreement authority is also granted.
It provides a new multiyear procurement authority for the offshore patrol cutter, the OPC, a critical and new asset. It directs the administration to enforce our cargo preference laws. No way out, guys. Enforce those laws and regulations, something that is long overdue.
It will streamline the administrative processes to make it easier for our veterans to get their civilian licenses and find jobs in the merchant marine.
Now, natural gas is a strategic American asset that is allowing America to enjoy low energy costs and a resurgence of American manufacturing. The export of LNG at a modest level could create even more American jobs if that LNG is transported on American-made LNG tankers flying the American flag with American sailors.
The currently approved export terminals will require approximately 100 LNG tankers. This tanker fleet could be American made, phased in as the LNG export terminals come on line and LNG exports grow. American shipyards could build these tankers over the next decade and beyond, creating thousands of jobs and maintaining a vital industrial base for America and our Navy.
This legislation does direct the Government Accountability Office, the GAO, to assess how future transport of LNG on U.S. tankers could affect American job creation in the U.S. maritime industry. It is a good first step, but we should be doing more.
This legislation also directs the Department of Transportation to develop a new national maritime strategy, a much-needed revision and new thought into what that strategy could be.
The bill authorizes a needed increase in the funding for the Federal Maritime Commission, and the bill reauthorizes the Small Shipyard Grant Program through fiscal year 2017 to improve the quality and competitiveness of our small, domestic shipyards.
There is more to be done. Specifically, title 11 needs to be rewritten and redone so that our American shipyards will have the loan guaranties that they need to construct the ships, perhaps those LNG tankers.
In closing, Mr. Speaker, H.R. 4005 is responsible legislation. It deserves an ``aye'' vote, and I want to thank all of who have been involved in writing it.
I reserve the balance of my time.