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Examining Coast Guard’s Maritime Law Enforcement Missions
On November 14, the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation held a hearing entitled “Guardians of the Sea: Examining Coast Guard Efforts in Drug Enforcement, Illegal Migration, and IUU Fishing.” The hearing examined the Coast Guard’s performance of its maritime law enforcement missions, including drug enforcement, illegal migration, and illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Additional information about the hearing is available here.

Navigating the Future of Intercity Passenger Rail in America

(Rep. Doug LaMalfa questions witnesses about the California high-speed rail project)
Last week, the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials held a hearing entitled “Getting on the Right Track: Navigating the Future of Intercity Passenger Rail in America.”  The hearing examined the state of intercity passenger rail with a focus on how to develop emerging technologies in a way that is safe, efficient, cost-effective, and that meets the demands of consumers.

Several members used the hearing as an opportunity to discuss the failures of California’s high-speed rail project. In his opening remarks, Subcommittee Chairman Troy Nehls discussed the project saying, “The venture, once estimated to cost $33 billion and be completed in 2020, is now projected to cost over $128 billion and counting, with an estimated completion date still over a decade away and no solid path forward.” Rep. Nehls continued saying, “the project has been plagued by a failure to account for actual costs and work associated with obtaining land to build the track, eminent domain issues, environmental concerns, permitting red tape, and whether low consumer demand will require permanent and costly government subsidies to operate the line.”

Additional information about the hearing is available here.

The Consequences of Delaying a Long-Term FAA Bill

(Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Garret Graves delivers his opening remarks)
In July, the House passed H.R. 3935, the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act, a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and aviation safety and infrastructure programs for the next five years.

Since then, the Senate has failed to take up the House’s bill or produce a companion bill, resulting in the FAA being funded by a short-term extension since September. On November 30th, the Subcommittee on Aviation held a hearing to examine the consequences of delaying a long-term and comprehensive FAA bill. Aviation stakeholders testifying at the hearing highlighted the harmful nature of simply passing a lengthy series of short-term extensions, not to mention any lapses in authorization, urging the House and Senate to expedite the completion of a long-term FAA bill.

Additional information about the hearing is available here.


This month, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a markup during which members voted to approve 13 pieces of legislation. A number of the bills focused on addressing the federal government's inefficient and costly use of office space. 

(Rep. Derrick Van Orden discusses his bill at the November 15th markup)
Following the markup, T&I Chairman Sam Graves spoke about the approved legislation: "Earlier this year, the GAO and our Committee highlighted alarmingly low office space utilization rates at federal agencies, including agencies that used just nine percent of their office capacity. I'm proud that our members worked across the aisle today to pass bipartisan solutions that will consolidate federal space, reduce waste, and save taxpayers money, in addition to making smart emergency preparedness and response program reforms."

One of the bipartisan measures approved by the Committee was the FASTA Reform Act of 2023, which was introduced by Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee Chairman Scott Perry (R-PA) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Dina Titus (D-NV). The legislation reforms the Federal Assets Sale and Transfer Act (FASTA), which was signed into law in 2016 to encourage the federal government to identify and sell unused properties for the benefit of taxpayers.

The Committee also approved other GSA reform bills, including bills by Reps. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, Chuck Edwards, and Derrick Van Orden.  Emergency management reform bills were also approved, including H.R. 1586, the Forest Protection and Wildland Firefighter Safety Act, by Rep. Doug LaMalfa, and H.R. 6249, the Think Differently About Emergencies Act. H.R. 6249 is another bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-NY)that addresses the gaps in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance for Americans with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities and their families and requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and FEMA to study these gaps in assistance and resources.

Additional information about the November 15th markup, including the full list of bills approved by the Committee, is available here.

On November 29th, leaders of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee introduced H.R. 6494, the Promoting Innovation in Pipeline Efficiency and Safety (PIPES) Act of 2023. The bipartisan legislation reauthorizes the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) pipeline safety programs for the next four years and provides an efficient and effective framework to advance the safety of energy infrastructure across the United States.

The bill was introduced by full Committee Chairman Sam Graves and Ranking Member Rick Larsen, and Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Chairman Troy Nehls and Subcommittee Ranking Member Donald M. Payne Jr. The PIPES Act advances traditional and emerging fuels and technology, reemphasizes and improves PHMSA’s safety mission, and fosters collaboration and transparency in and between the industry and PHMSA.

Additional information about the PIPES Act, including bill text and a section-by-section summary of the bill is available here.  And the Committee is scheduled to mark up this bill on December 6, 2023.


(Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer)
Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer is a first-term congresswoman from Oregon’s 5th congressional district. As vice-chair of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, she played a crucial role in the Committee’s November 15th markup. Her bill, H.R. 6261, the Impact of Crime on Public Building Usage Act of 2023, was one of thirteen measures passed at the November markup. The bill establishes a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study on how crime in and around public buildings affects building usage, commuting methods, and costs of maintaining public buildings.

The Committee approved a second bill introduced by Rep. Chavez-DeRemer, the Federal Oversight of Construction Use and Safety (FOCUS) Act, which requires GSA to collect data on crimes in and around public buildings and submit a report to Congress that includes crime data and any actions taken or planned to address safety concerns.

(Rep. Troy Nehls)
Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Chairman Troy Nehls is a second-term Congressman representing Texas’s 22nd district. On November 29th, Rep. Nehls helped introduce H.R. 6494, the Promoting Innovation in Pipeline Efficiency and Safety (PIPES) Act of 2023.  The PIPES Act will reauthorize the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) pipeline safety programs for the next four years and improve pipeline safety.

In addition to serving on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Nehls is a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

Chairman Graves for Aviation International News: It’s Time to Add to the U.S.’s Rich Aviation History

E&E News: House lawmakers to release bipartisan pipelines safety bill

Politico: Transportation committee bill aims to renew pipeline safety law for four years

Flying Magazine: Stakeholders Push for FAA Reauthorization Through the Senate

Roll Call: ‘Near misses’ add urgency to FAA reauthorization efforts

Fox News: Dozens of GOP lawmakers demand Buttigieg stop housing migrants at airports: ‘It is your responsibility’

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