Committee Approves Slate of Legislation Authorizing Funds for the Coast Guard, Banning Smoking on Amtrak, Supporting Nursing Rooms in Small Airports, and Streamlining Land Acquisition Projects
Washington, DC- Today, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved a slate of bipartisan measures by voice vote, including the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2019, Hazard Eligibility and Local Projects Act, Banning Smoking on Amtrak Act, and Small Airports Mothers’ Rooms Act.
“Today’s markup is another win for bipartisanship on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR). “Legislation passed through Committee today will require small airports to maintain lactation areas for mothers who are nursing, ban smoking on Amtrak trains, streamline land acquisition and construction projects for local communities, authorize Coast Guard funding for another two years, and ensure Coasties receive paychecks in the event of another senseless government shutdown. I am thankful to Ranking Member Graves for his work on these issues, and encourage my House and Senate colleagues to see these bills through.”
“I appreciate the good bipartisan work of our committee members in moving today’s legislation to strengthen the United States Coast Guard, help communities with disaster recovery, and ensure that airports can better accommodate mothers with young children,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO).
The legislation passed today out of Committee includes:
H.R. 3409, Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2019
“I am extremely pleased that today our Committee passed my bipartisan legislation to authorize funding for the United States Coast Guard for another two years,” said Chair DeFazio. “This legislation ensures our Coasties can continue carrying out their important work to secure our waterways and keep our communities safe. In addition, I am proud to have added an amendment which guarantees that members of the Coast Guard are paid on time and in full, even in the event of another senseless government shutdown.”
“The Coast Guard Authorization Act helps provide the Service with resources to improve its fleet of assets, stem the flow of illegal drugs and migrants into the country, protect our maritime borders, and promote maritime safety. This is a good bill that also puts the men and women of the Coast Guard on a level with members of our other armed services,” said Ranking Member Sam Graves.
“As the Chairman of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee - and as a Representative of New York’s Hudson Valley - I’m pleased our bipartisan reauthorization bill has passed. This bill will help our economy grow, make our Coast Guard stronger, our waterways safer, and ensure our Coasties will have the tools they need to do their jobs,” said Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Chair Sean Patrick Maloney.
“Whether it’s the Great Lakes, coastal ports, or inland waterways, the Coast Guard plays a key role in American maritime safety and national security. The men and women of the Coast Guard perform their critical missions every day to ensure Americans remain safe and the lanes of commerce remain open. That’s why the Coast Guard Authorization Act focuses on upgrading and modernizing fleet equipment and computer systems, so Guard personnel have the best and latest tools to complete their missions. I thank the Committee for supporting this bipartisan effort and look forward to supporting on the House floor,” said Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Ranking Member Bob Gibbs.
H.R. 3409, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2019, authorizes appropriations for the Coast Guard and Federal Maritime Commission through Fiscal Year 2021. The bill also includes regulatory improvements to promote the U.S. maritime industry and offshore renewable energy development, new requirements for the Coast Guard to assess and evaluate unmanned technologies for potential use in Coast Guard operations, provisions to increase diversity at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and new maritime safety enhancements.
The manager’s amendment includes Chair DeFazio’s H.R. 367, the “Coast Guard Pay Parity Act,” that ensures that if other armed services are paid during any lapse in appropriations that the Coast Guard will also be paid.
H.R. 2548, Hazard Eligibility and Local Projects Act
“I am pleased that the HELP Act passed the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee this morning, and grateful to Chairman DeFazio and my fellow committee members for the wide bipartisan support for this bill. Working together, we can make government programs more efficient and effective. Here, by allowing certain disaster mitigation and recovery projects to begin more quickly without jeopardizing potential federal funding, the HELP Act provides a common-sense solution to a real problem that will have a meaningful impact at home and across the country,” said Congresswoman Fletcher.
“Congress has a responsibility to make sure we create an environment with our laws that allows communities to recover from disaster as quickly as possible. The Hazard Eligibility and Local Projects Act will be a strong step forward in that goal, streamlining buyout and relocation projects to mitigate potential harm. I thank my colleague Congresswoman Fletcher for her leadership on this,” said Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee Ranking Member Mark Meadows (R-NC), a cosponsor of the bill.
H.R. 2548, introduced by Representative Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX), would modify eligibility for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs to allow flexibility for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to begin certain acquisitions to facilitate mitigation.
H.R. 2726, Banning Smoking on Amtrak Act of 2019
“Although Amtrak has implemented its own policy banning smoking on trains, that policy could be reversed if not codified,” said Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chair Eleanor Holmes Norton. “My bill would make the ban a matter of federal law, and put Congress on record for protecting people from harmful secondhand smoke and its proven detrimental health effects. I am reminding my colleagues of the countless lives lost during the decades that it took states to ban smoking in public areas. We should not make the same mistake again by delaying banning electronic cigarettes in the close quarters typical of trains.”
H.R. 2726, introduced by Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, would add a new section to Title 49, Chapter 243— Amtrak, that would prohibit smoking on Amtrak trains and prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes. Amtrak implemented a policy banning smoking on its trains in 1994 and has recently expanded that to include electronic cigarettes. This legislation would codify Amtrak’s policy.
H.R. 3362, Small Airports Mothers’ Rooms Act of 2019
“Traveling with infants, while rewarding, can often be stressful for new mothers. This bill helps lessen that anxiety and allows for mothers to have a quiet, private space to care for their young ones,” said U.S. Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV).
H.R. 3362, which was introduced by Congresswoman Carol Miller, requires small hub airports to maintain a lactation area for nursing mothers and a baby changing table in at least one men’s and one women’s restroom in each passenger terminal building of the airport. Small hub airports must comply with this requirement by fiscal year 2023 in order to receive grant funding under the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program. The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (Pub. L. 115-254) requires medium and large hub airports to meet these requirements by fiscal year 2021. The bill also clarifies that only the requirement for an airport to maintain a lactation area may be waived if the Secretary of Transportation determines that construction or maintenance activities would make it impracticable or unsafe for a lactation area to be located in the sterile area of a passenger terminal building
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