President to sign bill eliminating 2nd TWIC visit, extending medical certificates

WASHINGTON - The Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2012 (H.R. 2838), first introduced in the House by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) and Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), passed the Senate this week, a week after the House approved the bill. It will now head to the president, who is expected to sign it, authorizing $8.6 billion in fiscal year 2013 and $8.7 billion in fiscal year 2014 for the activities of the Coast Guard.

It will also notably eliminate the Transportation Security Administration requirement for maritime workers to make multiple trips to a TWIC enrollment center to receive the TWIC ID card and extend the duration of medical certificates so mariners can continue to work while the Coast Guard reduces its backlog of applications.

“The Coast Guard is our nation’s first line of defense for maritime safety and security,” Mica said in a statement. “This bill provides the Coast Guard with the resources to continue to improve the ships, aircraft and communications systems they need to do their jobs. That is little enough reward for the service’s daily efforts to protect our shores from drug and migrant smugglers and potential terrorist threats, and to keep the vessels plying our waterways and their crews safe from harm.

The bill also includes provisions, according to a press release, that will give the Coast Guard, its servicemembers and dependents “greater parity with their counterparts in the other Armed Services.”

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