The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold an executive session on Thursday, May 18, at 10:00 a.m. to consider the following legislative measures.
S. 1129, Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2017, Sponsors: Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), John Thune (R-S.D.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)
S. 118, Reinforcing American-Made Products Act of 2017, Sponsors: Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Angus King (I-Maine)
S. 396, A bill to make technical amendments to certain marine fish conservation statutes, and for other purposes, Sponsors: Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
S. 793, Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2017, Sponsors: Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Dick Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)
S. 1057, A bill to amend the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act of 1998 to address harmful algal blooms, Sponsors: Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
S. 1096, Maritime Administration Authorization and Enhancement Act for Fiscal Year 2018, Sponsors: Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.)
*Agenda subject to change
Results of the markup are available here.
Executive Session Details:
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Full Committee Markup
Senate Hart Building 216
A live video of the markup and additional information will be available at www.commerce.senate.gov.
Chairman John Thune
Good morning and welcome. Before we begin, I first want to thank my colleagues for their flexibility on the scheduling of this markup.
It is our hope that, by holding this executive session today, rather than next week as originally planned, the Majority Leader might be able to find some time in the Senate schedule during the next work period to debate and consider our first item on today’s agenda – The Coast Guard Reauthorization Act of 2017.
Sponsored by Senators Sullivan, Nelson, and myself, this bill reauthorizes the Coast Guard for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 and ensures that they have the tools necessary to accomplish their 11 statutory missions.
From provisions that help with the Coast Guard’s maritime drug and boarder enforcement missions, to a provision requiring the service to review the assets and personnel required to ensure the safety and security of the Artic missions, to improvements in recreational boating safety ---
This bill will ensure that the Coast Guard can continue to do what they do best – ensure for the safety, security, and environmental stewardship of our nation’s ports and waterways.
Also included in the manager’s amendment I’ve filed with Senator Nelson are two measures that have passed this Committee before – the NOAA Corp Reauthorization Act and the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act or VIDA. I am hopeful that these two measures, which have had bipartisan support in our Committee numerous times, can finally make it to the President’s desk.
Even with this strong support, I understand some still have some concerns with VIDA. As we have said many times before, Senator Nelson and I stand ready to work with you, the sponsors, and stakeholders to address these concerns once and for all to ensure that our nation’s fishermen and vessel owners have one consistent and attainable standard for ballast water and vessel discharge.
Also on today’s agenda is Senator Lee’s Reinforcing American-Made Products Act. While I know he had hoped that this could be considered at an early markup this Congress, I am glad to see that key stakeholder concerns have been addressed, and it should pass the Committee today.
We round out the agenda with four other maritime and fishery bills. Each has strong bipartisan support here in Committee and I am glad that we can consider them today. With that, I will turn to Senator Nelson for any opening remarks.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for calling this markup. I am pleased that we are able to markup a Coast Guard bill and want to thank you and Senator Sullivan for your work in getting this bill ready for primetime.
The bill will greatly enable the Coast Guard’s ongoing efforts to modernize its cutter and aircraft fleet.
Another bill on our agenda today reauthorizes the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act. In addition, this important piece of legislation will, for the first time, provide future federal assistance to communities hard hit by toxic algae blooms, such as red tide, and hypoxia events.
My home state of Florida has been ground zero recently for algae outbreaks. Last summer, a massive, toxic bloom began in Lake Okeechobee, spreading to the Indian River Lagoon and the coastline causing widespread and severe environmental and economic damage. Along just one ten-mile stretch of Florida’s coastline, red tide events are estimated to cause a loss of more than four million dollars in restaurant revenue and more than five million dollars in lodging revenue per month.
As it stands today, affected communities don’t have an avenue to get emergency assistance for these algae and hypoxia crises. So, our bill today sets up a process for federal assistance when significant algae blooms and hypoxia events occur. And it reauthorizes this small but important program through fiscal year 2023. I urge my colleagues to support this important bill.
With that Mr. Chairman, let’s proceed to our agenda items.