Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Chair, I rise in opposition to the Duncan Amendment to prevent appropriations from being used to implement the Convention on the Law of the Sea. As Ranking Member of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee and as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I know the importance of this treaty for both the Coast Guard and the Navy. Signing the Convention would allow both military services to prevent potential conflicts at sea with other nations. It would also lock in critical navigational rights that will ensure the timeliness and operational readiness of the services. This is a bipartisan issue, and I regret this amendment attempts to make it a partisan one.
Both the Navy and Coast Guard are enthusiastic and supportive of the potential that the Convention on the Law of the Sea holds. In fact, earlier this month Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp gave a speech in which he said the Convention would ``better enable the Coast Guard to protect Americans from the sea, protect Americans from threats delivered by sea, and protect the sea itself.''
This amendment is the wrong policy given the many benefits that we stand to gain by joining the Convention. I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this amendment.