Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 3, 2014
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

(Mr. RAHALL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 5769, the Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014. This legislation was developed, as Mr. Hunter has said, through very cooperative, bipartisan, and bicameral negotiations over the past 2 months.

That we are here today considering this legislation on the suspension calendar demonstrates again that, when we put aside partisan differences, we can find agreement on substantive legislation that serves the greater interests of the American public.

I commend full committee Chairman Shuster for his leadership in reaching out to the other body to initiate the process that has culminated in producing the outstanding bill that is before the House today.

I also want to thank and acknowledge the chairman of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, Duncan Hunter, and the ranking Democratic member of our Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, Mr. John Garamendi, for their tireless efforts to advance this important legislation.

As well, to our colleague Howard Coble, whom I have served with on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee since he was first elected to the House in 1984.

It is truly fitting that the pending bill will be named after Howard. He is a true gentleman in every sense of the word, a gentleman of this House, and a superb friend to myself, as well as to many of our colleagues.

The U.S. Coast Guard, one of our Nation's five military services, remains an agency that is as indispensable today as it was 100 years ago. Whether maintaining the safety of maritime commerce on the high seas, securing our ports, harbors, and inland waterways, or when protecting life at sea, the Coast Guard stands ready and able to serve whenever called.

I am pleased that this legislation will provide sufficient authorized funding to ensure that the Coast Guard has the resources and the personnel that it needs to accomplish its many missions, and most importantly, this legislation provides adequate funding to allow the Coast Guard to maintain progress in recapitalizing its offshore fleet of cutters, which is a very high priority.

I am also pleased that this legislation will advance several policies to support our merchant marine, especially a provision that will strengthen the enforcement of cargo preference requirements and ensure that the transport of U.S. Government cargoes continue to provide jobs for U.S. seafarers.

In general, this legislation will do much to advance our maritime industries and ensure that our maritime economy remains a vibrant contributor and source of jobs for millions of Americans.
This legislation is noncontroversial. It does have solid bipartisan and bicameral support, and I urge Members to support this

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Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Speaker, again, I want to commend our full committee chairman, Mr. Shuster; the subcommittee chair, Mr. Hunter; our ranking member, Mr. Garamendi; and our

staffs, as well, for the tremendous work that has gone in to producing this legislation.

Under Chairman Shuster's leadership, our Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is indeed demonstrating once again today what bipartisanship can do and the productive manner in which we can work for the American people in what is often described as a dysfunctional city. I know that in the years ahead, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will step up to the plate and do its work again, especially in addressing a major transportation bill next year and a major aviation bill that is on its agenda.

I guess it is kind of fitting, Mr. Speaker, that the last bill that Senator Rockefeller and myself are in part being managed by West Virginians. Both of us will be leaving this Congress. West Virginia is the great seafaring State that it is. But I do salute Senator Rockefeller as well for his tremendous leadership as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, for his leadership on this legislation and so many other pieces of legislation that have benefited our State of West Virginia in a more direct way, perhaps, but also a benefit to this great country. He is one that has been concerned for all of us, as we all are, about producing jobs for America, and that is what our Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is about.

I commend the staffs and I commend my dear friend Mr. Coble that so much has been said about and for whom this legislation is named. We have traveled together on a few occasions. During my entire time here, I have not seen any Member of this body conduct themselves in such a true gentleman fashion as Howard Coble does. We all call him our dear friend.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this legislation and, again, commend Chairman Hunter and Chairman Shuster for their bipartisan and cooperative manner in which they have worked on this and so many pieces of legislation.

I yield back the balance of my time. worthy bill.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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