Coast Guard authorization bill sponsored by Graves

U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, led several committee members in introducing bipartisan legislation that would strengthen, support, and authorize funding for the United States Coast Guard.

“The men and women of the Coast Guard risk their lives every day to protect our nation and the lives of those at sea. From assuring the safety of maritime trade through the supply chain crisis, to helping counter undue Chinese influence in the Pacific, to helping to develop the United States’ redefined role in the rapidly changing Arctic, to stemming the human trafficking and influx of illicit drugs into the country, the Coast Guard is challenged with an ever-growing mission set and no growth in their physical infrastructure assets,” Rep. Graves said. “Our bill ensures the Coast Guard will have the resources and assets necessary to carry out these and its other critical missions.”

The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2023, H.R. 2741, which Rep. Graves sponsored on April 20 with three original cosponsors, including U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA), would authorize Coast Guard appropriations for the next two fiscal years at fiscal year 2023 levels, plus inflation, to support operations and enable the Coast Guard to purchase additional air and sea assets and to fund its shoreside facilities and IT capabilities, according to a bill summary provided by the transportation committee.

“The women and men of the Coast Guard conduct search and rescue operations at sea, prevent the shipment of drugs across our maritime borders, and protect U.S. sovereignty in the Arctic and across the world,” said Rep. Larsen. “Congress must do more to support our Coast Guard members, and I am proud to introduce a bipartisan bill today that will improve housing, childcare, and the facilities where Coasties work.”

Specifically, H.R. 2741 would authorize the Coast Guard to purchase four additional Fast Response Cutters and one missionized HC-130J aircraft, and would provide additional support to enable the Coast Guard to address recruiting and manpower challenges, the bill summary says.

For instance, the measure would make changes to maritime safety laws and amend requirements for merchant mariner credentials in efforts to increase the pool of qualified U.S. merchant mariners, states the summary.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is reviewing the legislation.