Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2012 Amendments

Floor Speech

By:  Frank LoBiondo
Date: Dec. 5, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of House Resolution 825.

H.R. 2838 reauthorizes the activities of the Coast Guard through the fiscal year 2014 at levels that will allow for the administration's requested 1.7 percent military pay increase for fiscal year 2013 and provide for a military pay increase for fiscal year 2014 at a level consistent with CBO's estimate on the rate of inflation. The bill provides funding for the Coast Guard at levels that will reverse the irresponsible cuts proposed by the Obama administration and will ensure the service has what it needs to successfully conduct its missions.

The legislation includes critical provisions that will give the Coast Guard, its servicemembers, and its dependents great parity with their counterparts in the Department of Defense, something that we've worked very hard to achieve. H.R. 2838 also contains reforms and improvements to the Coast Guard's acquisition program and activities. The bill encourages job growth in the maritime sector by cutting EPA, TSA, and Coast Guard regulatory burdens on small businesses. Finally, the bill enhances the security of U.S. vessels and crews transiting high-risk waters, reauthorizes the national security aspects of the Maritime Administration for fiscal year 2013, and makes several important improvements to NOAA's marine debris program, as noted by Mr. Larsen.

H.R. 2838 was put together in cooperation with the minority and with our counterparts in the Senate. I'd like to thank Mr. Mica, chairman of the full committee; I'd like to thank Mr. Rahall, the ranking member of the full committee; I especially want to thank Mr. Larsen. We've had, I think, a model for how a committee or a subcommittee should operate. We've been focused on results. We've been focused on incorporating good ideas. Rick, I very much appreciated your cooperation in moving forward on these very important issues for the Nation.

Finally, I would like to thank the staff on both sides for their work and their help in this legislation. We rely on them a great deal. They've worked in an extraordinary manner, and it's very much appreciated, and hopefully we get the results we need.

I also want to take a moment to underscore the very dangerous work that the Coast Guard does to keep our Nation and our shores safe. We were all shocked and very saddened to hear the news this weekend that a Coastie lost his life in the line of duty. This underscores how our Coast Guard men and women put their life at risk each and every day. They're really underrecognized and underappreciated for the work they do. And with drugs being such a great scourge in our country, it sounds like this Coastie was just brutally murdered. So our heart goes out to the men and women of the Coast Guard, his colleagues, his family, and his friends. Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne was serving his country and gave his life for his country. Again, our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. We're tremendously thankful for all the brave men and women of the Coast Guard and the work that they do each and every day.

I urge all Members to support H.R. 2838, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. LoBIONDO. Mr. Speaker, in closing, I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this process. Again, I especially thank Mr. Larsen for the cooperative initiatives and efforts that we've been able to undertake. I hope that all the Members of the House of Representatives will think about the sacrifices that the men and women of the Coast Guard make and will vote affirmatively for this bill.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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