Federal - S 2297

A bill to authorize appropriations for the Coast Guard, and for other purposes.

Introduced

July 25, 2019

Description

A bill to authorize appropriations for the Coast Guard, and for other purposes.

Our Position

Support

Original Sponsor 1

Co-Sponsors 3

Latest Actions See More/Less

  • Sept. 26, 2019 — Reported to the Senate amended and without a written report by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar. Congressional Record p. S5747

  • July 31, 2019 — Full committee consideration and markup held by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

    July 31, 2019 — Committee Vote: Coast Guard Reauthorization — En Bloc Amendments

    En bloc amendments by:

    --Sullivan, R-Alaska, that would express the sense of Congress that the U.S. maritime industry contributes to the nation's economic prosperity and national security. The manager's amendment also would specify that environmental remedial actions related to conveyance of Coast Guard real property at Point Spencer, Alaska, could be completed by the agency after the date of such conveyance. The amendment also would require a deed entered into such conveyance to include a clause granting the agency access to the property in which such action or other corrective action, concerning contaminants on such land, is found to be necessary after the conveyance date.

    --Baldwin, D-Wis., that would allow, in fiscal years 2020 and 2021, the secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating to use funds to enter into one or more contracts for the procurement of a heavy Great Lakes icebreaker at least as capable as the USCGC MACKINAW.

    --Cruz, R-Texas, that would sunset the Coast Guard's authority for additional forms of transactions for basic, applied and advanced research on Sept. 30, 2025.

    --Cruz, that would require the Coast Guard commandant, within 60 days after the date that a transaction agreement to conduct basic, applied and advanced research projects is made, to post on its website information on such agreement with redactions for proprietary, sensitive or classified information. The amendment would require the commandant, by Dec. 30 of each year through 2025, to submit to Congress a report on the use by the agency of the additional transaction authority.

    --Cruz, that would require an analysis of the adequacy of the physical information technology infrastructure within Coast Guard districts as one of the required elements to be included in a comprehensive review on the agency's information technology program.

    --Cruz, that would increase to 27 the number of members on the National Maritime Transportation System Advisory Committee.

    --Cruz, that would restrict the number of members that represent federal agencies on the National Maritime Transportation System Advisory Committee. The amendment would specify that such members could not comprise more than one-third of the total membership of the committee or any subcommittee and serve as chairman or co-chairman of a committee or of any subcommittee.

    --Cruz, that would allow the use of one or more training areas for the program to facilitate of unmanned aircraft systems and small unmanned aircraft systems to support Coast Guard missions.

    --Cruz, that would ensure that the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Oil Pollution Research could contract or partner with a facility or facilities other than the Oil and Hazardous Materials Simulated Environmental Test Tank Research Center to conduct oil pollution technology testing and evaluations, provided that such a facility or facilities have testing and evaluation capabilities equal to or greater than those of the center.

    --Blumenthal, D-Conn., that would require the Coast Guard Academy's Board of Visitors to include in its annual review the state of diversity and inclusion at the academy.

    --Blumenthal, that would require the inspector general of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, within 90 days of the bill's enactment, to conduct a study and develop recommendations on the need to separate equal opportunity advisors and equal employment opportunity specialists through the pre-complaint and formal discrimination complaint processes for agency members and civilian employees.

    --Blumenthal, that would express the sense of Congress that the commandant of the Coast Guard should ensure compliance with the legal requirements intended to help whistleblowers and create an environment in which whistleblowers do not fear reprisal for reporting misconduct. The amendment also would require the commandant, within 90 days of the bill's enactment, to submit a report to Congress on the agency's policy concerning th issuance of warrants and subpoenas and whistleblower protections by the agency's Investigative Service agents.

    --Blumenthal, that would require a passenger vessel owner to ensure that a physician is always present and available to treat any passengers who may be on board the vessel in case of an emergency.

    --Lee, R-Utah, that would require the Coast Guard Academy's policy on sexual harassment and sexual violence to include notice that any action against a cadet or other Academy personnel be carried out in way that provides due process protections.

    --Lee, that would strike language that would require a report to Congress on child care and school age care options available to Coast Guard families to provide an assessment of whether is there is a need for increased subsidies and financial assistance for child care or school age care for such families in high cost of living areas.

    --Lee, that would prohibit National Maritime Transportation System Advisory Committee members from getting paid for performing any committee duties.

    --Lee, that would require the Government Accountability Office to identify any "statutory or regulatory" impediments to the agency's surge capacity in response to a catastrophic incident in its comprehensive review of the Coast Guard's surge capacity.

    --Markey, D-Mass., that would specify that the 75 percent federal share cost cap related to activities done using fishing safety grants that was in effect before the 2018 Coast Guard reauthorization law (PL 115-282) would apply to any appropriated funds under the 2017 omnibus appropriations law (PL 115-31) for the purpose of making such grants.

    --Peters, D-Mich., that would require the secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, within 180 days of the bill's enactment, in consultation with the EPA administrator, to update the Northern Michigan Area Contingency Plan to include a worst-case discharge from an onshore pipeline in adverse weather conditions.

    --Scott, R-Fla., that would allow in, fiscal years 2020 and 2021, the commandant to provide an additional $5 million for additional long-range maritime patrol aircraft acquired through full and open competition. The amendment also would require the commandant, by March 31, 2021, to submit to Congress a report assessing the feasibility and advisability of using unmanned aircraft systems for surveillance of marine protected areas, the transit zone and the Arctic in order to establish and maintain regular maritime domain awareness of such areas; ensure "appropriate" response to illegal activities in such areas; and collaborate with state, local and tribal authorities and international partners in surveillance mission over their waters in such areas.

    --Scott, that would prohibit the commandant from operating or entering into or renewing a contract for the procurement of foreign-made unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The amendment would provide an exemption from the restriction if the operation or procurement is for the purposes of counter-UAS surrogate testing and training or intelligence, electronic warfare and information warfare operations, testing, analysis or training; or if the commandant gets a certification from the Coast Guard unit requesting to operate or procure a UAS that such system does not do several things including connect to the internet or an outside telecommunications service. The amendment would specify that the authority to operate or procure an exempted UAS would expire two years from the bill's enactment date.

    --Scott, that would authorize the Coast Guard to take into account the impacts of Hurricane Michael in order to modify, but not exceed, the original affordability requirement stipulated in the existing contract to construct offshore patrol cutters upon a determination that doing such action would facilitate national security.

    --Sullivan, that would allow the Western Alaska community development quota program's administrative panel to act on fishing activities under the program with an affirmative vote of at least five of its members. It would require a unanimous vote of all six members of panel on matters concerning processing rights associated with harvest allocations.

    --Young, R-Ind., that would expand to eight the number of members of the Great Lakes Pilotage Advisory Committee and would require that one of them to be chosen from nominations made by Great Lakes maritime labor organizations. The amendment would sunset the committee on Sept. 30, 2030.

    En bloc amendments by:

    --Sullivan, R-Alaska, that would express the sense of Congress that the U.S. maritime industry contributes to the nation's economic prosperity and national security. The manager's amendment also would specify that environmental remedial actions related to conveyance of Coast Guard real property at Point Spencer, Alaska, could be completed by the agency after the date of such conveyance. The amendment also would require a deed entered into such conveyance to include a clause granting the agency access to the property in which such action or other corrective action, concerning contaminants on such land, is found to be necessary after the conveyance date.

    --Baldwin, D-Wis., that would allow, in fiscal years 2020 and 2021, the secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating to use funds to enter into one or more contracts for the procurement of a heavy Great Lakes icebreaker at least as capable as the USCGC MACKINAW.

    --Cruz, R-Texas, that would sunset the Coast Guard's authority for additional forms of transactions for basic, applied and advanced research on Sept. 30, 2025.

    --Cruz, that would require the Coast Guard commandant, within 60 days after the date that a transaction agreement to conduct basic, applied and advanced research projects is made, to post on its website information on such agreement with redactions for proprietary, sensitive or classified information. The amendment would require the commandant, by Dec. 30 of each year through 2025, to submit to Congress a report on the use by the agency of the additional transaction authority.

    --Cruz, that would require an analysis of the adequacy of the physical information technology infrastructure within Coast Guard districts as one of the required elements to be included in a comprehensive review on the agency's information technology program.

    --Cruz, that would increase to 27 the number of members on the National Maritime Transportation System Advisory Committee.

    --Cruz, that would restrict the number of members that represent federal agencies on the National Maritime Transportation System Advisory Committee. The amendment would specify that such members could not comprise more than one-third of the total membership of the committee or any subcommittee and serve as chairman or co-chairman of a committee or of any subcommittee.

    --Cruz, that would allow the use of one or more training areas for the program to facilitate of unmanned aircraft systems and small unmanned aircraft systems to support Coast Guard missions.

    --Cruz, that would ensure that the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Oil Pollution Research could contract or partner with a facility or facilities other than the Oil and Hazardous Materials Simulated Environmental Test Tank Research Center to conduct oil pollution technology testing and evaluations, provided that such a facility or facilities have testing and evaluation capabilities equal to or greater than those of the center.

    --Blumenthal, D-Conn., that would require the Coast Guard Academy's Board of Visitors to include in its annual review the state of diversity and inclusion at the academy.

    --Blumenthal, that would require the inspector general of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, within 90 days of the bill's enactment, to conduct a study and develop recommendations on the need to separate equal opportunity advisors and equal employment opportunity specialists through the pre-complaint and formal discrimination complaint processes for agency members and civilian employees.

    --Blumenthal, that would express the sense of Congress that the commandant of the Coast Guard should ensure compliance with the legal requirements intended to help whistleblowers and create an environment in which whistleblowers do not fear reprisal for reporting misconduct. The amendment also would require the commandant, within 90 days of the bill's enactment, to submit a report to Congress on the agency's policy concerning th issuance of warrants and subpoenas and whistleblower protections by the agency's Investigative Service agents.

    --Blumenthal, that would require a passenger vessel owner to ensure that a physician is always present and available to treat any passengers who may be on board the vessel in case of an emergency.

    --Lee, R-Utah, that would require the Coast Guard Academy's policy on sexual harassment and sexual violence to include notice that any action against a cadet or other Academy personnel be carried out in way that provides due process protections.

    --Lee, that would strike language that would require a report to Congress on child care and school age care options available to Coast Guard families to provide an assessment of whether is there is a need for increased subsidies and financial assistance for child care or school age care for such families in high cost of living areas.

    --Lee, that would prohibit National Maritime Transportation System Advisory Committee members from getting paid for performing any committee duties.

    --Lee, that would require the Government Accountability Office to identify any "statutory or regulatory" impediments to the agency's surge capacity in response to a catastrophic incident in its comprehensive review of the Coast Guard's surge capacity.

    --Markey, D-Mass., that would specify that the 75 percent federal share cost cap related to activities done using fishing safety grants that was in effect before the 2018 Coast Guard reauthorization law (PL 115-282) would apply to any appropriated funds under the 2017 omnibus appropriations law (PL 115-31) for the purpose of making such grants.

    --Peters, D-Mich., that would require the secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, within 180 days of the bill's enactment, in consultation with the EPA administrator, to update the Northern Michigan Area Contingency Plan to include a worst-case discharge from an onshore pipeline in adverse weather conditions.

    --Scott, R-Fla., that would allow in, fiscal years 2020 and 2021, the commandant to provide an additional $5 million for additional long-range maritime patrol aircraft acquired through full and open competition. The amendment also would require the commandant, by March 31, 2021, to submit to Congress a report assessing the feasibility and advisability of using unmanned aircraft systems for surveillance of marine protected areas, the transit zone and the Arctic in order to establish and maintain regular maritime domain awareness of such areas; ensure "appropriate" response to illegal activities in such areas; and collaborate with state, local and tribal authorities and international partners in surveillance mission over their waters in such areas.

    --Scott, that would prohibit the commandant from operating or entering into or renewing a contract for the procurement of foreign-made unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The amendment would provide an exemption from the restriction if the operation or procurement is for the purposes of counter-UAS surrogate testing and training or intelligence, electronic warfare and information warfare operations, testing, analysis or training; or if the commandant gets a certification from the Coast Guard unit requesting to operate or procure a UAS that such system does not do several things including connect to the internet or an outside telecommunications service. The amendment would specify that the authority to operate or procure an exempted UAS would expire two years from the bill's enactment date.

    --Scott, that would authorize the Coast Guard to take into account the impacts of Hurricane Michael in order to modify, but not exceed, the original affordability requirement stipulated in the existing contract to construct offshore patrol cutters upon a determination that doing such action would facilitate national security.

    --Sullivan, that would allow the Western Alaska community development quota program's administrative panel to act on fishing activities under the program with an affirmative vote of at least five of its members. It would require a unanimous vote of all six members of panel on matters concerning processing rights associated with harvest allocations.

    --Young, R-Ind., that would expand to eight the number of members of the Great Lakes Pilotage Advisory Committee and would require that one of them to be chosen from nominations made by Great Lakes maritime labor organizations. The amendment would sunset the committee on Sept. 30, 2030.

    Adopted (en bloc) by voice vote.

    July 31, 2019 — Committee Vote: Coast Guard Reauthorization — Jones Act Waiver
      M. Lee, R-Utah —

    Amendment that would allow for an agency leader to temporarily waive to the Jones Act, a 1920 law which requires that ships on routes beginning and ending at U.S. ports may only be served by U.S.-owned and built ships with a U.S. crew and flying the American flag.

    The amendment would permit an agency leader, upon request, to waiver such law if the person requesting the waiver "reasonably demonstrates" that there is no product carrier for a specific good, that meets the law's requirements, exists and is available to carry such good and that the person made a "good faith effort" to locate a product carrier that complies with the law's requirements.

    The amendment would specify that any waiver would be valid for at least 30 days after its issuance and allow an agency leader to extend a waiver for periods of at least 15 days each if conditions have not changed.

    The amendment also would require an agency leader to approve or deny a waiver request within 60 days of receiving such request. It would require the leader to send the requester a report explaining the reason for the denial within 14 days of such decision. It would provide for an automatic 30-day extension of a waiver, if the agency leader has not acted on a request within 61 days of receiving such request. It also would require the leader to notify Congress of any waiver request or issuance within 48 hours of such action.

    Amendment that would allow for an agency leader to temporarily waive to the Jones Act, a 1920 law which requires that ships on routes beginning and ending at U.S. ports may only be served by U.S.-owned and built ships with a U.S. crew and flying the American flag.

    The amendment would permit an agency leader, upon request, to waiver such law if the person requesting the waiver "reasonably demonstrates" that there is no product carrier for a specific good, that meets the law's requirements, exists and is available to carry such good and that the person made a "good faith effort" to locate a product carrier that complies with the law's requirements.

    The amendment would specify that any waiver would be valid for at least 30 days after its issuance and allow an agency leader to extend a waiver for periods of at least 15 days each if conditions have not changed.

    The amendment also would require an agency leader to approve or deny a waiver request within 60 days of receiving such request. It would require the leader to send the requester a report explaining the reason for the denial within 14 days of such decision. It would provide for an automatic 30-day extension of a waiver, if the agency leader has not acted on a request within 61 days of receiving such request. It also would require the leader to notify Congress of any waiver request or issuance within 48 hours of such action.

    Rejected 4-22.

    July 31, 2019 — Committee Vote: Coast Guard Reauthorization — NATO Country Shipyards
      M. Lee, R-Utah —

    Amendment that would allow for the construction of of Coast Guard vessels or major components of the hull or superstructure of such vessels in foreign shipyards in a NATO country if the construction costs would be less than if they were built in a domestic shipyard.

    Amendment that would allow for the construction of of Coast Guard vessels or major components of the hull or superstructure of such vessels in foreign shipyards in a NATO country if the construction costs would be less than if they were built in a domestic shipyard.

    Rejected 4-22.

    July 31, 2019 — Committee Vote: Coast Guard Reauthorization — Vote to Report

    Authorize $11.5 billion for the U.S. Coast Guard in fiscal 2020 and $11.2 billion in fiscal 2021. The legislation also would authorize $29.1 million in fiscal 2020 and $29.6 million in fiscal 2021 for the Federal Maritime Commission.

    Of the overall total for fiscal 2020, the bill would authorize:

    • $8.8 billion for operations and maintenance, including $17.1 million for environmental compliance and restoration and $204.3 million for the agency's Medicare-eligible retiree health care fund contribution to the Defense Department.
    • $2.7 billion for infrastructure, including aids to navigation, shore and offshore facilities, vessels and aircraft, including $650 million for the acquisition of an additional National Security Cutter.
    • $29.1 million for research and development.

    For fiscal 2021, the bill would authorize:

    • $8.4 billion for operations and maintenance, including $17.1 million for environmental compliance and restoration and $204.3 million for the agency's Medicare-eligible retiree health care fund contribution to the Defense Department.
    • $2.8 billion for infrastructure, including aids to navigation, shore and offshore facilities, vessels and aircraft, including $20 million for the alteration of bridges.
    • $29.9 million for research and development.

    The bill also would increase to 44,500 the ceiling for active-duty personnel in each fiscal year, up 1,500 from the fiscal 2019 ceiling. It also would authorize student loads for each fiscal year, maintaining the current levels: 2,500 student years for recruit and special training; 165 student years for flight training; 350 student years for training in military and civilian institutions; and 1,200 student years for officer training.

    The bill also would authorize $3 million annually in fiscal years 2020 through 2021 for fishing safety grants and $3 million annually for the same period for fishing safety research grants. It would increase the federal share to up to 75 percent for those entities using grant awards to do permissible activities.

    The bill would authorize the secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, in fiscal 2020 and each fiscal year thereafter, to enter into one or more contracts for the procurement of not fewer than three heavy and three medium polar security cutters along with associated equipment for such vessels.

    The bill would authorize $745 million in both fiscal 2020 and 2021, from amounts made available within the bill, for each heavy cutter authorized to be procured in such fiscal years.

    The bill would allow Coast Guard officers to request, and the commandant to approve, an exclusion from consideration for promotion. It would specify that the request could only be approved if made to allow the officer to complete an assignment or education, or because of a qualifying personal or professional circumstance. The exclusion must be in the best interests of the Coast Guard, and the officer can not have previously failed to be selected for promotion to the grade from which she or he requests exclusion.

    The bill also would authorize the temporary promotion of officers in the grade of lieutenant (junior grade) through commander. It would require the promotion be recommended by a board of officers and made by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate. It would specify that these temporary promotions would only apply to officers with skills where there is a critical shortage and who are serving in a position designated to held by a lieutenant, lieutenant commander, commander or captain and possessing the skills for such a position. It would specify that the temporary promotion would end when the officer is promoted to the grade level of the temporary position, when the officer is detached from the position, or if the officer engages in misconduct or displays substandard performance. The bill would specify the number of temporary appointments that could be made per rank:

    • For lieutenant, the number equal to 0.2 percent of the authorized number of lieutenants in the Coast Guard as of the end of the fiscal year in which the appointment is made.
    • For lieutenant commander, the number equal to 0.6 percent of the authorized number of lieutenant commanders in the Coast Guard as of the end of the fiscal year in which the appointment is made.
    • For commander, the number equal to 0.3 percent of the authorized number of commanders in the Coast Guard as of the end of the fiscal year in which the appointment is made.
    • For captain, the number equal to 0.15 percent of the authorized number of captains in the Coast Guard as of the end of the fiscal year in which the appointment is made.

    The bill would clarify that if an officer is under investigation for alleged misconduct at the time of retirement, the secretary of Homeland Security can conditionally determine the highest grade of satisfactory service for retirement benefits for the officer pending completion of the investigation. If the officer committed misconduct while in a lower grade, it would allow the secretary to determine that he or she has not served satisfactorily in any grade equal to or higher than that lower grade. If the investigation results in adverse findings and an officer's retired grade is reduced, it would require that the officer's retired pay be recalculated.

    Under the measure, the determination of an officer's retired grade is administratively final on the day the officer retires and cannot be reopened except in the following circumstances: the retired grade was procured by fraud; evidence comes to light after the retirement that could have led to a lower retired grade if known at the time of retirement; a mistake of law or calculation was made in determining the grade; an investigation following a conditional determination results in an adverse finding; and if the secretary, pursuant to regulations, determines good cause exists to reopen the determination or certification.

    The bill would establish a program under which members of the Coast Guard may be temporarily inactivated from active service in order to meet personal or professional needs, and then be returned to active service. During their period of inactivation, it would require individuals to serve in the Coast Guard Ready Reserve and undergo training as required to ensure they retain proficiency. It also would require members participating in the program to agree to serve two months of active duty in the Coast Guard for each month they were inactive. It would limit the period of inactivation to three years, and specify that such period would not count toward eligibility for retirement. It also would specify that such time would not count toward total years of service for reserve officers who participate in the program.

    The bill would permit the Coast Guard commandant to commission an individual not currently serving as an officer, but has critical skills that would assist the agency to complete its missions, into the Coast Guard at a grade up to and including commander.

    The bill would require the secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating to develop and make public a strategy to enhance leadership development in the Coast Guard within 180 days of the bill's enactment.

    The bill also would require, within 180 days of the bill's enactment, the commandant to create a policy to allow the transfer of a Coast Guard member whose dependent is a victim of sexual assault perpetrated by a member of the armed forces who is not related to the victim.

    The bill would require the commandant, within one year of the bill's enactment, to submit to Congress and make publicly available, a report on the implementation of the recommendations in RAND Corp.'s Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center 2019 report titled, "Improving Gender Diversity in the U.S. Coast Guard: Identifying Barriers to Female Retention."

    The bill would provide for "such sums as may be necessary" to pay Coast Guard personnel and contract employees and to provide for death benefits and retirement pay in the event that there is a lapse in Coast Guard funding during a government shutdown.

    The bill would authorize the Coast Guard commandant to enter into transactions (other than contracts, cooperative agreements and grants) to conduct basic, applied and advanced research projects. Under these transactions the Coast Guard can receive payment for conducting the research.

    The bill would require the commandant to both ensure that agency management, technical and contracting personnel involved in awarding or administering the transactions are given "adequate" education and training as well as create minimum levels and requirements for continuous and experiential learning for such personnel.

    The bill would increase from $100,000 to $425,000 the monetary cap for the commandant to settle admiralty claims against the agency as well as increase to such same amount the cap on claims for damage to agency property.

    The bill would allow the commandant to use full and open competitive procedures to acquire vessel maintenance and repair services with a homeport in Coast Guard District 17, the greater Alaskan region.

    The bill would permit the use of amounts in the Coast Guard Housing Fund for the construction or recapitalization of existing military family housing and military unaccompanied housing.

    The bill would authorize the commandant to create a pilot program to assess the feasibility and benefit of implementing a program in U.S. waters to lower acoustic disturbance of southern resident orcas in Puget Sound and the surrounding waters.

    The bill would require the Government Accountability Office, within 18 months of the bill's enactment, to send to Congress a report on child care and school age care options available to qualified families.

    The bill would require the commandant to conduct a three-year pilot program to expand access to public or private child development centers for qualified families.

    The bill would permit the commandant to use funding authorized for operations and support for upgrades on Coast Guard-owned housing to enhance or address a housing unit issue found during an inspection and ensure such unit is maintained at a safe level so as to meet health, fire and safety or other home inspection requirements as to be able to establish a Coast Guard family child care center in such unit.

    The bill would require Coast Guard child development centers to go through unannounced inspections at least twice a year and family child care providers are inspected at least quarterly each year.

    The bill would require the commandant, within 180 days after the release of the Department of Homeland Security inspector general's report on allegations of racial discrimination at the Coast Guard Academy, to send to Congress a report on implementing recommendations from the report.

    The bill would establish a Maritime Transportation System National Advisory Committee to advise the Transportation Department on the U.S. maritime transportation system and its seamless integration with the rest of the U.S. transportation system, including the viability of the U.S. Merchant Marine.

    The bill would require the Coast Guard commandant to regularly assess available unmanned maritime systems for potential use for agency missions. It would require the commandant to consult with the Defense Department, other federal agencies, academic institutions and unmanned maritime systems developers and manufacturers. Within one year of the bill's enactment and biennially thereafter, it would require the commandant to submit to Congress a report on the actual and potential effects of the use of such systems in relation to supporting the agency's missions.

    The bill would require the commandant to create and update a program for the use of a training area to facilitate the use of unmanned aircraft systems and small unmanned aircraft systems to support the agency's missions. Within 180 days of the bill's enactment, it would require the commandant to designate an area for training, testing and development of such systems.

    The bill would not allow individuals to operate certain recreational vessels unless they are wearing an engine cut-off switch link while operating above no-wake speed and the engine cut-off switch has been equipped on such vessels. It would require the cut-off switch to stop the boat's propulsion if it is disconnected from the engine, is under water, or is separated from the engine by a specified distance. It would specify that the requirement would not apply if a vessel's main helm is installed with an enclosed cabin or the vessel does not have a switch and is not required to have one. It would make individuals violating this use requirement liable for a civil penalty of not more than $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second offense and $500 for any subsequent offense.

    The bill would provide the secretary direct hire authority for certain departmental personnel to support the Coast Guard in such positions as departmental maintenance activities, cybersecurity, acquisition workforce and any science, technology or engineering slot to deal with information technology. The bill would sunset the authority on Sept. 30, 2025.

    The bill would require the secretary to create a national policy for all vessel traffic service centers within one year of the bill's enactment. It would require the policy to include:

    • Standardization of titles, roles and responsibilities for all personnel working in a center.
    • Establishment of thresholds and measures for monitoring,informing, recommending and directing vessel traffic.
    • Standardization of training for all vessel traffic service directors, operators and watchstanders.
    • Establishment of data collection and archiving processes for vessel incidents and near-miss events.

    The bill would allow a port captain covered by a vessel traffic service center to develop and submit to the secretary regional policies, in addition to the national policy, to account for local vessel traffic conditions and volume, geography and waterway usage. Within 180 days of receiving such policies, it would require the secretary to review them and require the captain to implement the policies that the secretary approves.

    The bill would require the secretary to develop and implement a standard method for evaluating the performance of vessel traffic service centers. The bill also would specify that based on the performance evaluation, the secretary would be required to periodically review vessel traffic service areas to determine if there are additional vessel traffic service needs in such areas and if an area should be moved or modified.

    The bill also would create a continuous risk assessment program to evaluate and mitigate safety risks for each vessel traffic service area. The bill also would require the secretary to create a nationwide training program for all vessel traffic service directors, operators and watchstanders.

    The bill would specify that all personnel assigned or employed in a vessel traffic service center whose job includes communicating, interacting or directing vessels within a vessel traffic service area would be required to pass a U.S. international and inland navigation rules test.

    The bill also would require the secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating to develop a testing and evaluation program of U.S. commercial space-based radio frequency geolocation and maritime domain awareness products and services to support the agency's maritime enforcement objectives.

    The bill also would require the commandant, by Dec. 31, 2020, to develop a plan to standardize agency facility condition assessments and create shore infrastructure performance goals, measures and baselines to track the effectiveness of maintenance and repair investments and provide feedback on progress made.

    The bill also would create an Interagency Coordinating Committee on Oil Pollution Research that would coordinate an interagency comprehensive program of oil pollution research, technology development and demonstration, working with private industry, colleges and universities, state governments and other countries. It would direct the committee to foster cost-effective research mechanisms such as joint funding of research.

    As amended, the bill would allow, in fiscal 2020 and 2021, the secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating to use funds to enter into one or more contracts for the procurement of a heavy Great Lakes icebreaker at least as capable as the USCGC MACKINAW.

    As amended, it would require an analysis of the adequacy of the physical information technology infrastructure within Coast Guard districts as one of the required elements to be included in a comprehensive review on the agency's information technology program.

    As amended, it would provide for the consideration of the state of diversity and inclusion at the Coast Guard Academy in the annual review done by its Board of Visitors.

    As amended, it also would allow, in both fiscal years 2020 and 2021, the commandant to provide an additional $5 million for additional long-range maritime patrol aircraft acquired through full and open competition.

    Authorize $11.5 billion for the U.S. Coast Guard in fiscal 2020 and $11.2 billion in fiscal 2021. The legislation also would authorize $29.1 million in fiscal 2020 and $29.6 million in fiscal 2021 for the Federal Maritime Commission.

    Of the overall total for fiscal 2020, the bill would authorize:

    • $8.8 billion for operations and maintenance, including $17.1 million for environmental compliance and restoration and $204.3 million for the agency's Medicare-eligible retiree health care fund contribution to the Defense Department.
    • $2.7 billion for infrastructure, including aids to navigation, shore and offshore facilities, vessels and aircraft, including $650 million for the acquisition of an additional National Security Cutter.
    • $29.1 million for research and development.
    • For fiscal 2021, the bill would authorize:

    • $8.4 billion for operations and maintenance, including $17.1 million for environmental compliance and restoration and $204.3 million for the agency's Medicare-eligible retiree health care fund contribution to the Defense Department.
    • $2.8 billion for infrastructure, including aids to navigation, shore and offshore facilities, vessels and aircraft, including $20 million for the alteration of bridges.
    • $29.9 million for research and development.
    • The bill also would increase to 44,500 the ceiling for active-duty personnel in each fiscal year, up 1,500 from the fiscal 2019 ceiling. It also would authorize student loads for each fiscal year, maintaining the current levels: 2,500 student years for recruit and special training; 165 student years for flight training; 350 student years for training in military and civilian institutions; and 1,200 student years for officer training.

      The bill also would authorize $3 million annually in fiscal years 2020 through 2021 for fishing safety grants and $3 million annually for the same period for fishing safety research grants. It would increase the federal share to up to 75 percent for those entities using grant awards to do permissible activities. The bill would authorize the secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, in fiscal 2020 and each fiscal year thereafter, to enter into one or more contracts for the procurement of not fewer than three heavy and three medium polar security cutters along with associated equipment for such vessels.

      The bill would authorize $745 million in both fiscal 2020 and 2021, from amounts made available within the bill, for each heavy cutter authorized to be procured in such fiscal years.

      The bill would allow Coast Guard officers to request, and the commandant to approve, an exclusion from consideration for promotion. It would specify that the request could only be approved if made to allow the officer to complete an assignment or education, or because of a qualifying personal or professional circumstance. The exclusion must be in the best interests of the Coast Guard, and the officer can not have previously failed to be selected for promotion to the grade from which she or he requests exclusion.

      The bill also would authorize the temporary promotion of officers in the grade of lieutenant (junior grade) through commander. It would require the promotion be recommended by a board of officers and made by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate. It would specify that these temporary promotions would only apply to officers with skills where there is a critical shortage and who are serving in a position designated to held by a lieutenant, lieutenant commander, commander or captain and possessing the skills for such a position. It would specify that the temporary promotion would end when the officer is promoted to the grade level of the temporary position, when the officer is detached from the position, or if the officer engages in misconduct or displays substandard performance. The bill would specify the number of temporary appointments that could be made per rank:

    • For lieutenant, the number equal to 0.2 percent of the authorized number of lieutenants in the Coast Guard as of the end of the fiscal year in which the appointment is made.
    • For lieutenant commander, the number equal to 0.6 percent of the authorized number of lieutenant commanders in the Coast Guard as of the end of the fiscal year in which the appointment is made.
    • For commander, the number equal to 0.3 percent of the authorized number of commanders in the Coast Guard as of the end of the fiscal year in which the appointment is made.
    • For captain, the number equal to 0.15 percent of the authorized number of captains in the Coast Guard as of the end of the fiscal year in which the appointment is made.
    • The bill would clarify that if an officer is under investigation for alleged misconduct at the time of retirement, the secretary of Homeland Security can conditionally determine the highest grade of satisfactory service for retirement benefits for the officer pending completion of the investigation. If the officer committed misconduct while in a lower grade, it would allow the secretary to determine that he or she has not served satisfactorily in any grade equal to or higher than that lower grade. If the investigation results in adverse findings and an officer's retired grade is reduced, it would require that the officer's retired pay be recalculated.

      Under the measure, the determination of an officer's retired grade is administratively final on the day the officer retires and cannot be reopened except in the following circumstances: the retired grade was procured by fraud; evidence comes to light after the retirement that could have led to a lower retired grade if known at the time of retirement; a mistake of law or calculation was made in determining the grade; an investigation following a conditional determination results in an adverse finding; and if the secretary, pursuant to regulations, determines good cause exists to reopen the determination or certification.

      The bill would establish a program under which members of the Coast Guard may be temporarily inactivated from active service in order to meet personal or professional needs, and then be returned to active service. During their period of inactivation, it would require individuals to serve in the Coast Guard Ready Reserve and undergo training as required to ensure they retain proficiency. It also would require members participating in the program to agree to serve two months of active duty in the Coast Guard for each month they were inactive. It would limit the period of inactivation to three years, and specify that such period would not count toward eligibility for retirement. It also would specify that such time would not count toward total years of service for reserve officers who participate in the program.

      The bill would permit the Coast Guard commandant to commission an individual not currently serving as an officer, but has critical skills that would assist the agency to complete its missions, into the Coast Guard at a grade up to and including commander.

      The bill would require the secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating to develop and make public a strategy to enhance leadership development in the Coast Guard within 180 days of the bill's enactment.

      The bill also would require, within 180 days of the bill's enactment, the commandant to create a policy to allow the transfer of a Coast Guard member whose dependent is a victim of sexual assault perpetrated by a member of the armed forces who is not related to the victim.

      The bill would require the commandant, within one year of the bill's enactment, to submit to Congress and make publicly available, a report on the implementation of the recommendations in RAND Corp.'s Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center 2019 report titled, "Improving Gender Diversity in the U.S. Coast Guard: Identifying Barriers to Female Retention."

      The bill would provide for "such sums as may be necessary" to pay Coast Guard personnel and contract employees and to provide for death benefits and retirement pay in the event that there is a lapse in Coast Guard funding during a government shutdown.

      The bill would authorize the Coast Guard commandant to enter into transactions (other than contracts, cooperative agreements and grants) to conduct basic, applied and advanced research projects. Under these transactions the Coast Guard can receive payment for conducting the research.

      The bill would require the commandant to both ensure that agency management, technical and contracting personnel involved in awarding or administering the transactions are given "adequate" education and training as well as create minimum levels and requirements for continuous and experiential learning for such personnel.

      The bill would increase from $100,000 to $425,000 the monetary cap for the commandant to settle admiralty claims against the agency as well as increase to such same amount the cap on claims for damage to agency property.

      The bill would allow the commandant to use full and open competitive procedures to acquire vessel maintenance and repair services with a homeport in Coast Guard District 17, the greater Alaskan region.

      The bill would permit the use of amounts in the Coast Guard Housing Fund for the construction or recapitalization of existing military family housing and military unaccompanied housing.

      The bill would authorize the commandant to create a pilot program to assess the feasibility and benefit of implementing a program in U.S. waters to lower acoustic disturbance of southern resident orcas in Puget Sound and the surrounding waters.

      The bill would require the Government Accountability Office, within 18 months of the bill's enactment, to send to Congress a report on child care and school age care options available to qualified families.

      The bill would require the commandant to conduct a three-year pilot program to expand access to public or private child development centers for qualified families.

      The bill would permit the commandant to use funding authorized for operations and support for upgrades on Coast Guard-owned housing to enhance or address a housing unit issue found during an inspection and ensure such unit is maintained at a safe level so as to meet health, fire and safety or other home inspection requirements as to be able to establish a Coast Guard family child care center in such unit.

      The bill would require Coast Guard child development centers to go through unannounced inspections at least twice a year and family child care providers are inspected at least quarterly each year.

      The bill would require the commandant, within 180 days after the release of the Department of Homeland Security inspector general's report on allegations of racial discrimination at the Coast Guard Academy, to send to Congress a report on implementing recommendations from the report.

      The bill would establish a Maritime Transportation System National Advisory Committee to advise the Transportation Department on the U.S. maritime transportation system and its seamless integration with the rest of the U.S. transportation system, including the viability of the U.S. Merchant Marine.

      The bill would require the Coast Guard commandant to regularly assess available unmanned maritime systems for potential use for agency missions. It would require the commandant to consult with the Defense Department, other federal agencies, academic institutions and unmanned maritime systems developers and manufacturers. Within one year of the bill's enactment and biennially thereafter, it would require the commandant to submit to Congress a report on the actual and potential effects of the use of such systems in relation to supporting the agency's missions.

      The bill would require the commandant to create and update a program for the use of a training area to facilitate the use of unmanned aircraft systems and small unmanned aircraft systems to support the agency's missions. Within 180 days of the bill's enactment, it would require the commandant to designate an area for training, testing and development of such systems.

      The bill would not allow individuals to operate certain recreational vessels unless they are wearing an engine cut-off switch link while operating above no-wake speed and the engine cut-off switch has been equipped on such vessels. It would require the cut-off switch to stop the boat's propulsion if it is disconnected from the engine, is under water, or is separated from the engine by a specified distance. It would specify that the requirement would not apply if a vessel's main helm is installed with an enclosed cabin or the vessel does not have a switch and is not required to have one. It would make individuals violating this use requirement liable for a civil penalty of not more than $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second offense and $500 for any subsequent offense.

      The bill would provide the secretary direct hire authority for certain departmental personnel to support the Coast Guard in such positions as departmental maintenance activities, cybersecurity, acquisition workforce and any science, technology or engineering slot to deal with information technology. The bill would sunset the authority on Sept. 30, 2025.

      The bill would require the secretary to create a national policy for all vessel traffic service centers within one year of the bill's enactment. It would require the policy to include:

    • Standardization of titles, roles and responsibilities for all personnel working in a center.
    • Establishment of thresholds and measures for monitoring,informing, recommending and directing vessel traffic.
    • Standardization of training for all vessel traffic service directors, operators and watchstanders.
    • Establishment of data collection and archiving processes for vessel incidents and near-miss events.
    • The bill would allow a port captain covered by a vessel traffic service center to develop and submit to the secretary regional policies, in addition to the national policy, to account for local vessel traffic conditions and volume, geography and waterway usage. Within 180 days of receiving such policies, it would require the secretary to review them and require the captain to implement the policies that the secretary approves.

      The bill would require the secretary to develop and implement a standard method for evaluating the performance of vessel traffic service centers. The bill also would specify that based on the performance evaluation, the secretary would be required to periodically review vessel traffic service areas to determine if there are additional vessel traffic service needs in such areas and if an area should be moved or modified.

      The bill also would create a continuous risk assessment program to evaluate and mitigate safety risks for each vessel traffic service area. The bill also would require the secretary to create a nationwide training program for all vessel traffic service directors, operators and watchstanders.

      The bill would specify that all personnel assigned or employed in a vessel traffic service center whose job includes communicating, interacting or directing vessels within a vessel traffic service area would be required to pass a U.S. international and inland navigation rules test.

      The bill also would require the secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating to develop a testing and evaluation program of U.S. commercial space-based radio frequency geolocation and maritime domain awareness products and services to support the agency's maritime enforcement objectives.

      The bill also would require the commandant, by Dec. 31, 2020, to develop a plan to standardize agency facility condition assessments and create shore infrastructure performance goals, measures and baselines to track the effectiveness of maintenance and repair investments and provide feedback on progress made.

      The bill also would create an Interagency Coordinating Committee on Oil Pollution Research that would coordinate an interagency comprehensive program of oil pollution research, technology development and demonstration, working with private industry, colleges and universities, state governments and other countries. It would direct the committee to foster cost-effective research mechanisms such as joint funding of research.

      As amended, the bill would allow, in fiscal 2020 and 2021, the secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating to use funds to enter into one or more contracts for the procurement of a heavy Great Lakes icebreaker at least as capable as the USCGC MACKINAW.

      As amended, it would require an analysis of the adequacy of the physical information technology infrastructure within Coast Guard districts as one of the required elements to be included in a comprehensive review on the agency's information technology program.

      As amended, it would provide for the consideration of the state of diversity and inclusion at the Coast Guard Academy in the annual review done by its Board of Visitors.

      As amended, it also would allow, in both fiscal years 2020 and 2021, the commandant to provide an additional $5 million for additional long-range maritime patrol aircraft acquired through full and open competition.

      Ordered reported favorably to the full Senate (as amended) by voice vote.

  • July 25, 2019 — Original cosponsor(s): 3

    Cantwell, (D-Wash.)Markey, (D-Mass.)Wicker, (R-Miss.)
  • July 25, 2019 — Read twice and referred to: Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation.Congressional Record p. S5108