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Sheila J.
Democrat TX 18

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  • Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014

    by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

    Posted on 2014-04-01

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    JACKSON LEE asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.) Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the distinguished gentleman for yielding, and I thank the manager of this legislation.

    I rise with an appreciation for this legislation and also a concern. I think this legislation would have been important to have been referred and for the waiver not to be exercised to the Homeland Security Committee.

    I serve as the ranking member on the Border Security and Maritime Security Committee, and it is known that the Coast Guard has a responsibility for defending the Nation's maritime borders. It is charged with port waterway and coastal security.

    {time} 1730 With that in mind, it would be appropriate to address those questions of Homeland Security. I notice that this bill limits and reduces the number of commissioned officers, alters the mission of Coast Guard centers, and did not come before our committee.

    At a hearing on the oil spill in Houston, which has an impact on America's waterways, particularly around the gulf region and has an impact on security, it was clear that the Coast Guard were the first responders. They were the first responders in terms of the potential rescue. They were the first responders in terms of being the cops of the waterway, to ensure that all of those who needed to use that waterway and the ports were able do so. They were the ones that protected the individuals that were on cruise lines that were left offshore, and they were, of course, taking care of commerce. This is clearly part of the responsibility of Homeland Security.

    As I indicated, we are very proud of the Coast Guard. I am always reminded of the great service they rendered during Hurricane Katrina, saving over 1,000 persons.

    I rise today to hope that we will have an opportunity to address the questions dealing with security. As I do so, however, I want to commend Admiral Robert Papp, Jr., who is a commandant now of the United States Coast Guard, 24th United States Coast Guard Commandant and has served 39 years. Let us salute this great American.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.

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