Sunday, September 23, 2012

CG Authorization Passes in Senate

On Friday the Senate took up HR 2838, renamed it the ‘Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2012’ and changed almost every provision of the bill, including increasing the authorized funding and manpower for the Coast Guard. This was one of a large number of bills that were passed by unanimous consent without debate. HR 2838 had to be discharged from committee consideration (again by unanimous consent) to be brought to the floor for this ‘vote’.

As was to be expected the language adopted by the Senate is more closely related to S 1665, the Senate version of the authorization bill. Having said that, there were significant changes made to the version of S 1665 that was reported by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. None of these changes were debated anywhere in the Senate.

Nothing in this new bill addresses anything that deals with chemical transportation safety or security or the Maritime Transportation Security Act. The one provision that came close to addressing those issues (GPS interference) that was included in the House version of the bill is completely missing from this version.

This bill will probably be taken up by conference committee after the election. Post-election politics will have a significant influence on the outcome, if there is one, of that conference.

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