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U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

06/22/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/22/2021 12:59

What They Are Saying | Maritime Community Welcomes Wicker’s USCG Act

Top leaders and organizations in the maritime community are expressing support for the Unwavering Support for our Coast Guard (USCG) Act after U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, introduced the bill last month. The legislation would ensure Coast Guard personnel are paid in the event of a government shutdown and increase funding to eliminate the shore side backlog by 2025. The USCG Act would also direct a new fleet mix analysis, require an updated shore infrastructure plan, enhance Coast Guard diversity and inclusion, and provide funding to modernize the Coast Guard Yard.

See below for what they are saying:

American Maritime Partnership:'The U.S. Coast Guard is the foundation of the United States as a leading maritime nation and is critical to a robust domestic American Maritime sector,' saidMichael Roberts, President of the American Maritime Partnership. 'The American Maritime Partnership applauds Senator Wicker on the introduction of this important legislation to bolster the U.S. Coast Guard, which safeguards our nation's maritime transportation system and protects our national and homeland security.'

American Association of Port Authorities:'Ports applaud the substantial funding measures outlined in the Unwavering Support for our Coast Guard Act, as introduced by Senator Wicker,' saidChris Connor, President and CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities. 'We thank Senator Wicker for continuing to be a champion of those who work on the water, including ports and the Coast Guard. Investing in the Coast Guard to ensure continuity and further modernization of its operations is essential, and this bill does just that. America's Ports and the Coast Guard work hand in hand to keep critical maritime infrastructure secure and to guarantee safe and efficient movement of goods.'

Navy League of the United States:'The Navy League of the United States fully supports the Unwavering Support for our Coast Guard Act. Our nation's coastal and international security and economic prosperity have always depended on the Coast Guard. For necessary operational readiness, the Coast Guard must have full pay parity with the other military services; requiring the men and women of the Coast Guard to perform their vital missions without pay whenever a lapse in government funding occurs is unacceptable and puts our nation at risk. Over the last decade, their operations have steadily increased in scope, scale and complexity. America's commitment to the Coast Guard has fallen short, eroding mission capabilities. Inadequate funding has resulted in operational pressures and the neglect of shore infrastructure in favor of recapitalization of an aging fleet. This Act addresses these issues as well as other Coast Guard top priorities such as better diversity and inclusion implementation. America must support and resource her Coast Guard to ensure our prosperity, safety and security.'

Sea Service Family Foundation and the Chief Warrant and Warrant Officers Association of the United States Coast Guard: 'The Sea Service Family Foundation and the Chief Warrant and Warrant Officers Association of the United States Coast Guard can't express enough how vital it is that we pass this legislation. During the 2018 government shutdown, no member of the Armed Forces experienced hardships like the United States Coast Guard, when they were forced to work 45 days without paycheck while facing the uncertainty of not knowing when their next paycheck would arrive. No member of the Armed Forces should ever fear the loss of their pay while serving our country in critical roles that are in support of America's interest. While it is normal to pass the Pay Our Military Act, oftentimes the United States Coast Guard is forgotten. We agree that having their own legislation in that their own section of the Armed Forces receive their pay should the government ever shutdown again. We commend Senator Wicker for introducing this legislation and look forward to working with him and his team in the future to ensure that our United States Coast Guard is never forgotten again.'

Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA):'Modernizing the U.S. Coast Guard fleet is crucial to protecting our nation's homeland security and our industry is proud to support legislation that will improve USCG shipyard infrastructure and provide greater support to those serving our country,' saidMatthew Paxton, President of SCA. 'SCA commends Senator Wicker for his work on the Unwavering Support for Our Coast Guard Act, which will ensure the USCG has a diverse, upgraded and properly-equipped fleet well into the future.'

United Services Automobile Association (USAA):'USAA strongly supports efforts to eliminate the financial uncertainty faced by servicemembers and their families during government shutdowns. This bill will ensure that the dedicated men and women serving our nation in the U.S. Coast Guard receive timely pay to protect their financial security while they are on the front lines protecting us.'

VT Halter Marine:'Our U.S. Coast Guard is responsible for carrying out several different missions that are vitally important to our Nation and our allies around the world. Senator Wicker's 'Unwavering Support for our Coast Guard Act' will provide for critical needs targeting personnel development, mission analysis and enhancements and support as well as the modernization of key infrastructure for USCG asset maintenance and modernization programs. We fully support this Act and look forward to seeing a swift approval thru Congress,' said Bob Merchant, CEO of VT Halter Marine.