Coast Guard Reauthorization Passes Commerce Committee


I’d like to talk a little bit about the Coast
Guard Authorization Act because I am the appropriator on Homeland Security, which appropriates for
the Coast Guard. Both of you pointed out in your statements
the importance of the Arctic ice breaker that we funded in the last appropriations bill. We fought hard for that. It’s something that had been on the books
for many years, but just because of the price tag and other challenges in appropriations
picture, we were coming up with those dollars. And so I congratulate the Coast Guard for
their patience, but patience was running thin. I think it’s the start of a great thing, and
I think this reauthorization really moves the ball much farther along on that. So I want to thank you for that. Also the payment during shutdown — again
I’m the appropriator for the Coast Guard — that was a painful time for all of us in a lot
of ways, but particularly for me, as the chair of that subcommittee, working with the Commandant
and other members of the Coast Guard who were working hard, a lot of them are young families, having a
lot of difficulty. Were it not for the Coast Guard Auxiliary
and other folks who were helping them in their communities make those week-to-week obligations
that you can meet when you get a normal paycheck, I think it would have been much more difficult. I think assuring them because of their absolute
critical role in our country’s national defense and national security, it’s important that
we give them that assurance. I’m proud of the Coast Guard’s presence in
West Virginia, which sounds odd, but we do have some great Coast Guard facilities in
our state. Also what they’re doing at our nation’s southern
border, in particular their brave efforts to stem the flow of drugs over our country.

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