Press Releases

T&I Approves Coast Guard Authorization Act

Committee also Passes Bill to Improve Supply Chain Issues at U.S. Ports

Washington, D.C., March 20, 2024 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446
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The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today approved bipartisan legislation to strengthen, support, and authorize funding for the United States Coast Guard, one of the Nation’s six armed services.  The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2024 (H.R. 7659) supports the Coast Guard and its critical missions to safeguard the Nation’s borders, facilitate maritime commerce, and ensure maritime safety. Additionally, the bill strengthens sexual assault and harassment protections for members of the Coast Guard and ensures greater accountability and transparency in the Coast Guard following the Committee’s investigation of the Service’s Operation Fouled Anchor.

The Committee also approved H.R. 6140, the Facilitating Access to Swiftly Transport Goods during a Publicly Announced State of Emergency Situation Act (FAST PASS Act), a bipartisan bill to address supply chain challenges involving the movement of critical cargo through U.S. ports and marine terminals.

Both bills were approved as amended.

The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2024 (H.R. 7659) was introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-WA), Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Daniel Webster (R-FL), and Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Ranking Member Salud Carbajal (D-CA). 

“This bipartisan bill provides the men and women of the Coast Guard with the authorities and resources they need to carry out their missions, which are critical to ensuring maritime safety, enforcing United States laws at sea, and protecting our Nation’s borders,” said T&I Committee Chairman Graves.  “This bill provides for additional air and sea assets, prioritizes much needed shoreside infrastructure improvements, enables the Coast Guard to address recruiting and manpower challenges, and helps increase the pool of qualified United States merchant mariners.  Finally, the bill holds the Coast Guard accountable for its past failures to protect the members of the Service from sexual assault and sexual harassment by promoting greater transparency and strengthening protections for service members.  I want to thank Ranking Member Larsen, Subcommittee Chairman Webster, and Subcommittee Ranking Member Carbajal for their work on this necessary and bipartisan bill.”

“Today’s Committee action is an important step toward ensuring the United States Coast Guard has the resources it needs to take care of its servicemembers, carry out its mission and safeguard the nation at sea,” Ranking Member Larsen said.  “The bipartisan Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2024 improves the lives of servicemembers by investing in housing, childcare, and facilities, and addresses the Service’s shoreside infrastructure backlog.  Importantly, it also fights sexual violence by holding the Coast Guard accountable for its sexual assault and harassment mitigation and prevention efforts.”

“The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2024 provides the necessary investments and authorities required to maintain the Coast Guard’s critical missions.  These investments are especially important to ensure border security given the increase in interdiction and repatriations of those illegally attempting to land on Florida shores.  The measure will also help turn the tide on the Service’s recruiting challenges and provides for additional surface and air assets, as well as resources to begin replacing the Service’s crumbling shoreside infrastructure,” said Subcommittee Chairman Webster.  “Following the troubling revelations of Operation Fouled Anchor, this legislation incorporates the Coast Guard Protection and Accountability Act of 2024 that Ranking Member Carbajal and I introduced, along with Chairman Graves and Ranking Member Larsen, which strengthens protections for members of the Coast Guard from sexual assault and harassment and increases transparency within the Service.  I appreciate Chairman Graves, Ranking Member Larsen, and Subcommittee Ranking Member Carbajal for their work in passing this important bipartisan legislation out of Committee.”

“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,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Carbajal.  “And as the top Democrat on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, I’m proud to further our committee’s tradition of crafting 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.  And in addition to these important investments, this bill also reaffirms our bipartisan commitment to holding the Coast Guard accountable for reforms needed to eliminate sexual assault and sexual harassments from its ranks.”

The FAST PASS Act (H.R. 6140) was introduced in the House by Rep. Mike Ezell (R-MS) and takes steps to avoid future supply chain crises by directing the Department of Transportation to study and report to Congress on expediting the movement of critical cargo through ports and marine terminals.  The bill also allows the Department to conduct voluntary pilot programs to test potential methods of improvement.

“When America faces emergencies like hurricanes and pandemics, our supply chains must be ready to respond,” said Rep. Ezell.  “My bipartisan FAST PASS Act will help get critical supplies across the country quickly and efficiently, and I am grateful to the Committee for sending it to the House Floor.”

The Committee also approved two General Services Administration Capital Investment and Leasing Program lease resolutions – one for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research facility in Seattle, Washington, and one for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) facility in Arlington, Virginia – which will improve office space utilization and efficiency, result in the sale of federal real estate, and represent over $35 million in taxpayer savings.

Click here for more information about today’s markup, including video, legislative text, recorded votes, and amendments approved.