The House and Senate have completed action on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2012 (H.R. 2838). The bill authorizes Coast Guard funding for FY2013 and FY2014. It now goes to the president for signature.
Rep. John Mica (R-FL), who sponsored the bill in the House, along with Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), issued a statement saying the bill “provides the Coast Guard with the resources to continue to improve the ships, aircraft, and communications systems they need to do their jobs." Mica is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The bill authorizes $8.6 billion in FY2013 and $8.7 billion in FY2014 for the Coast Guard. In FY2013, $6.9 billion is authorized for operations and maintenance and $1.5 billion for acquisition and construction. Authorized funding for the Coast Guard Reserve program is set at $138 million. The bill also authorizes $17 million for environmental compliance and restoration of vessels and aircraft, $20 million for research and development, and $16 million for alteration and removal of bridges in the U.S. that obstruct navigation.
Mica’s statement said the bill will build on previous efforts to support Coast Guard members and their families. Under the bill, Coast Guard servicemembers and their families will have “greater parity with their counterparts in the other Armed Services” as authorities are aligned with DoD authorities. To address congressional concerns about substandard Coast Guard housing, the bill requires a report on servicemember housing conditions.
The bill also extends authorities for the expedited hiring of acquisition experts for Coast Guard fleet recapitalization, sets advance procurement authority for buying new ship long lead construction materials, and provides for Coast Guard multiyear procurement of National Security Cutters.
The bill includes the Piracy Suppression Act of 2011, which authorizes armed security protection for U.S. ships carrying government cargo and expands the current training program to assist mariners to defend against pirate attack.