Last week, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), ranking member Sam Graves (R-MO), chair of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), and ranking member Bob Gibbs (R-OH) introduced bipartisan legislation to authorize funds for, reinforce, and support the U.S. Coast Guard.

H.R. 3409, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2019 (CGAA 2019), is legislation that reauthorizes 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, authorization of funding to build new polar security cutters (heavy icebreakers), 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 Coast Guard works tirelessly to keep our coastal communities safe, maintain the security of our ports and waterways, carry out critically important drug interdictions, and respond efficiently to emergencies and disasters,” DeFazio said. “This bipartisan bill ensures the Coast Guard has the resources necessary to accomplish its missions. I am pleased to see the committee again demonstrate true bipartisan cooperation to get results and I encourage my House and Senate colleagues to pass this critical legislation and get it signed into law.”

“This bill authorizes the resources necessary to ensure the Coast Guard can carry out its important range of missions to ensure maritime safety, interdict drugs and illegal migrants, enforce U.S. laws at sea, and protect our Nation’s borders.  Furthermore, this legislation takes steps necessary to provide the men and women of the Coast Guard – as one of the five armed services – parity with other service members in the Department of Defense,” said Graves.

“We rely on the brave men and women of our Coast Guard to do so much - they keep our ports and waterways safe, intercept drug smugglers, protect our environment, and strengthen the American economy. As the chairman of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, I can promise you we worked hard to ensure our Coasties get the tools they need to do their jobs,” said Maloney.

“The Coast Guard plays an important and unique role in national security and maritime safety. It is a critical component in carrying out drug interdiction efforts, keeping our ports and coasts safe, and conducting icebreaking operations. The legislation introduced today helps the Coast Guard better perform their missions and encourages the use of cutting-edge technology to improve operations. Utilizing drone technology and upgrading computer systems will help Coast Guard personnel complete their missions,” said Gibbs.