Capito Votes for Legislation to Support, Strengthen Coast Guard
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) today voted to pass the Frank Lobiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act, comprehensive legislation to support and strengthen the work of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). As a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Senator Capito helped develop and advance the legislation, and as chair of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, she oversees funding for USCG. She issued the following statement after the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 94 to 6:
“The men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard work incredibly hard and on so many different fronts to keep Americans safe and help ensure our nation is secure. I’ve had the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time with Coast Guard leadership and to learn more about their mission and capabilities firsthand—from search and rescue following natural disasters and assistance in securing our borders to the critical role they play in drug interdiction. I’ve been with them on land, air, and sea in support of the work they do for our nation, including the many West Virginians serving our country as members of the Coast Guard.
“In West Virginia, the Eastern Panhandle is the proud home to several Coast Guard facilities—including the Vessel Documentation Center, Operations Systems Center, and National Maritime Center. These facilities, and the men and women who work there, are critical to the Coast Guard mission, and this bill will help support their good work. The legislation will also help support and strengthen other Coast Guard efforts across the country and ensure its members are able to do their job safely and effectively. As a member of the Commerce Committee, I’m proud to have played a role in getting it to the Senate floor, and I will continue working as chair of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee to make sure the Coast Guard receives the funding and resources it needs.”
Senator Capito received a briefing last month on the U.S. Coast Guard’s work, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Defense, to monitor the security of the airspace of the national capital region. She also recently led a trip to the Pacific coast and the U.S.-Mexico border to learn more about Coast Guard efforts related to border security.
To support and strengthen these and other efforts, the Frank Lobiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act:
- Enhances the Coast Guard’s maritime drug law enforcement capabilities by authorizing three new Fast Response Cutters, which are the primary vessels used in enforcement activities.
- Authorizes the Coast Guard to enter into multiyear contracts on certain new acquisitions improving the efficiency of recapitalization.
- Provides clarity to vessel owners for safety requirements and increases the safety of recreational boaters by requiring engine cut-off switches and increasing the number of visual signaling devices authorized for use.
- Improves the Coast Guard’s ability to make timely and cost efficient repairs on vessels by providing more flexibility to choose where alterations, conversions, and repairs occur.
- Improves Coast Guard maternity and paternity benefits by providing flexibility in the granting of leave to assist new parents.
- Requires the establishment of a canine currency detection program to help combat concealment of bulk cash.
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