Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved bipartisan legislation that authorizes the U.S. Coast Guard and its missions.

The Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 (H.R. 5769) was introduced in the House by Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., along with Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Penn., Transportation Committee Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall, II, D-W.Va., and Coast Guard Subcommittee Ranking Member John Garamendi. D-Calif. The measure, which passed on Dec. 1 by a vote of 413-3, represents a bipartisan, bicameral agreement between House and Senate committee leaders, and the Senate is expected to take up the legislation before the end of the year.

“This legislation upholds the commitment to the men and women who provide for the safety and protection of our waterways, and gives an added boost to our own maritime interests,” Hunter said. “Chairman Shuster's leadership was essential to making this bill possible, and it's no less important to recognize Howard Coble for his tireless commitment to the Coast Guard and U.S. maritime transportation. Dedicating this bill to Howard is the very least we can do to show our appreciation for so many years of faithful service.”

“This bill helps provide the men and women of the Coast Guard with the resources they need to do their jobs and make our waterways safe,” Shuster said. “This legislation also strengthens U.S. maritime transportation by reducing regulatory burdens, encouraging economic growth, and removing barriers to employment for our veterans. I commend Chairman Hunter for his leadership in introducing this legislation, and thank our colleague and Coastguardsman Howard Coble for his service to our Nation.”

H.R. 5769 is named in honor of retiring Congressman and Committee Member Howard Coble of North Carolina, the only current Member of Congress to have served in the Coast Guard and a long-time champion of the service in Congress. House and Senate negotiations on the final measure began earlier this year after the House approved the legislation reauthorizing the Coast Guard on April 1. The bill was scheduled to move to the Senate for floor action and it will hopefully be voted on before the end of this year's session.