Fischer introduces bipartisan bill to reauthorize, bolster Maritime Administration

U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) introduced bipartisan legislation on Thursday that would reauthorize and modernize the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD).

Fischer and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Maritime Administration Authorization and Enhance Act, S. 2829, which recognizes the importance of the maritime transportation system and would improve MARAD’s management.

“Productive maritime shipping plays a critical role in a healthy economy and ensures Nebraska’s producers and manufactures can effectively send their world-class products to the global market,” Fischer said. “I’m pleased to join Sen. Booker to introduce this strong, bipartisan legislation. By working together, we can keep goods moving, strengthen our national security, and improve fiscal responsibility at the Maritime Administration.”

The bill would provide the Secretary of the Navy with the flexibility to choose the most effective classification for high-speed craft, bolster recruitment and standards for U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and State Maritime Academy Midshipmen, and extend flexibility on age restrictions for vessels in the maritime security program.

“Sen. Booker and I also collaborated on meaningful provisions to enhance sexual assault prevention programs for midshipmen attending the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy,” Fischer said. “Through these prevention and response efforts, we can provide a more secure experience for the men and women who will go on to serve our country.” 

The reauthorization bill would also address workforce management improvement measures recommended by the inspector general. Additionally, it would standardize MARAD federal workforce training and require fleet managers to be trained on the DoT’s drug and alcohol policy to promote employee safety around vessels.

“Our ports, vessels, and Merchant Marine forces are critical to our military preparedness, economic growth and disaster relief efforts, so I was pleased to join Sen. Fischer in introducing this bipartisan legislation which takes important steps to improve conditions for our nation’s maritime workforce,” Booker said.

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