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bill Progress


  • EnactedDecember 4th, 2018
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The house Passed January 10th, 2018
    Roll Call Vote 239 Yea / 173 Nay
      house Committees
      House Committee on Natural Resources
      Water, Power and Oceans
  • The senate Passed May 8th, 2017
    Passed by Voice Vote
      senate Committees
      Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
    IntroducedJanuary 12th, 2017

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What is it?

(Updated 11/11/18) This bill has been amended to serve as the legislative vehicle for a two-year reauthorization of the Coast Guard, in addition to establishing a national standard governing water discharges from ships' ballasts, which are currently regulated by a mixture of federal & state rules. In its previous form the bill reformed labor law on tribal lands (which was removed by the Senate’s amendment), and allowed the White Mountain Apache tribe to use funds to build a rural water system. A summary of the current bill’s provisions can be found below.

Coast Guard Authorization

This part of the bill would authorize funding for Coast Guard activities totalling $9.8 billion in FY2018 and $10.5 billion in FY2019. Operating expenses would total $7.2 billion in FY2018 and $7.9 billion in FY2019. Procurement, construction, renovation, and other improvements would total $2.6  billion in both FY2018 and FY2019. The active duty Coast Guard end strength would total 44,500 personnel.

The Coast Guard would be authorized to build an icebreaker for use on the Great Lakes and build three additional fast response cutters at a cost of $167.5 million over each of the next two years. The Polar Star heavy icebreaker would undergo an enhanced maintenance program to maintain icebreaking capabilities until new icebreakers are complete. Investments in shoreside infrastructrure would total $167.5 million in both FY2018 and FY2019, while $3.5 million would go to aircraft improvements each year.

Other notable provisions of the Coast Guard portion of this bill would include:

  • Coast Guard members would be able to take parental leave following birth or adoption incrementally or they can use flexible work schedules at the discretion of their commanding officer.

  • The Coast Guard would be authorized to take action against an unmanned aircraft posing a threat to Coast Guard, military, and other vessels.

  • The Coast Guard would conduct a study of the feasibility of creating an ROTC program.

  • The Coast Guard would report to Congress on the assets it has for an oil spill response in the Arctic.

  • The Coast Guard would be authorized to issue regulations to “promote the safety of life on navigable waters during regattas or marine parades.”

Vessel Incidental Discharge Act

Ships take in water from coastal port areas and hold it in their ballasts during transit to help maintain ballast, and during their normal operations discharge this ballast water — which can contain aquatic nuisance species or invasive species. This part of the bill would authorize the Coast Guard to be the lead agency in regulating vessel discharges and establish a uniform set of national standards, as those discharges are currently governed by a complex patchwork of state and federal rules. Under the new framework a process would be available for states to establish no-discharge zones if the state determines that stricter requirements are needed to enhance its waters.

Existing regulations would remain in place during a transition period to the new rules, which would prohibit ship operators from discharging ballast water in navigable U.S. waters unless it’s done in accordance with the standards developed by the Coast Guard.

In the case of ships entering the Saint Lawrence River and Hudson River, they’d be required to discharge their ballast offshore — exactly how far offshore would be based on whether they’ve operated outside of the exclusive economic zones of the U.S. and Canada. For ships along the Pacific Coast, they’d be required to exchange ballast water 50 nautical miles offshore. The Coast Guard and Homeland Security would work with the EPA to develop ballast standards for ships 79 feet or longer operating in the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River.

The ballast water standards would be reviewed and assessed for potential changes to account for new technologies by January 1, 2024.

Miscellaneous

This bill would also clarify that the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT) is authorized to use funds from the $79 million WMAT settlement fund to plan, design, and build a rural water system.

Impact

The Coast Guard; ships and their operators; states; and the White Mountain Apache Tribe.

Cost

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthThe Senate Republican Policy Committee notes that an earlier Coast Guard reauthorization that contained a different version of the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act was considered by the Senate in April, but failed on a 56-42 over concerns expressed by environmental organizations.

The Coast Guard reauthorization legislation previously passed the Commerce Commitee on a voice vote. The WMAT settlement bill unanimously passed both the full Senate and the House Natural Resources Committee, and was introduced by Arizona Republican Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain.


Media:Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / rcp)

AKA

Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018

Official Title

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

    Yes. Allow the tribes to govern their own lands.
    Like (156)
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    At first this looked too good to be true, rectifying centuries of purposeful discrimination and oppression of Native Americans. Then came the part about the NLRB and once again it became clear who would profit. The just and equitable portion of the bill returning tribal authority to build water systems is excellent. Further undermining unions in the age of shocking disparity between those who work and those who profit obscenely from their work is not.
    Like (286)
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    How hard is one bill, one issue? Yes to the water rights. No to dismantling labor unions. I hate this stupid government and its shady agendas buried under pretending to help.
    Like (209)
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    This bill needs to be separated into two parts. Obviously, Indian tribes should be able to use the WMAT money for rural water systems. However, businesses on Indian tribes should not be exempt from labor laws. Exempting businesses on Indian tribes from NLRB rules is blatantly anti-worker.
    Like (118)
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    Typical Republican Bill! Yes to the first part, no to the last part. So sick of this crap! TWO SEPARATE BILLS!!!!!
    Like (82)
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    The first portion is logical and I would agree with, however the amended portion on the “Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act” seems to have been insidiously placed in an otherwise good bill.
    Like (66)
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    This is a classic reason why politicians lose the confidence of the American people. You have something that is good and beneficial and then throw something else in with it to turn it negatively. These 2 issues should be separated and voted on separately.
    Like (58)
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    It’s ironic that people say the government should get out of the lives of Native Americans until the Native Americans want to do something they disagree with. Let the tribes run their reservations like they really were theirs.
    Like (42)
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    It’s their land so they should be allowed to do what they want on it
    Like (33)
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    Oh, look at that: A provision in this bill exempting Indian tribes from labor laws! Always look at the fine print of a bill people, especially if said bill was sponsored by a Republican.
    Like (25)
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    No to NLRB. Yes to WMAT.
    Like (25)
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    Will someone please tell me when the American government is going to stop abusing Native Americans? Businesses dealing with Native Americans should be covered by the Labor Relations Board oversight and all other rules business are subject to in dealing with all Americans. Blatant discrimination.
    Like (23)
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    What a ugly Trojan Horse in this bill. Union busting poison hidden in good legislation. I’m all for giving the First People their sovereign water rights, but the labor portion of this bill is shady as heck. Removing labor protections isn’t in anybody’s best interest except for money-grubbing corporations. I hate these two faced Republican bills. They offer the appearance of good and hide real evil. I cannot support the bill as it is written, no matter how I feel for the First People. ALSO WHY THE HELL ARE WE NOW TANGLING THE COAST GUARD FUNDING UP WITH THIS?!?! WRITE A SECOND FUCKING BILL YOU LAZY ASSHOLES! God, I hate these bill bundles. It’s like getting a cockroach in the soup for Christ’s sake. You have to throw the whole thing away.
    Like (19)
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    Why take away NLRB labor regulations? To make an FTZ? Let them build it and let the people building it be protected by the same rights as every other worker.
    Like (13)
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    The government needs to stay out of tribal business.
    Like (11)
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    My goodness! How dumb do they think the American people are? The NLAB is involved with this and that means this water deal is another string of cheap beads that removes rights to decent paying Jobs from these tribes. That's a really stinking fake deal.
    Like (11)
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    Build a new water system in Flint Michigan.
    Like (10)
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    Make it 2 separate bills. Why should Native Americans be exempt from labor laws?
    Like (10)
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    Yes to them deciding how to use their funds. This needs to be two separate bills.
    Like (10)
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    Why can’t republicans do deprecate bills.....soooooo slimy and sneaky
    Like (9)
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