General Services Administration awards new lease for Army Corps of Engineers in Baltimore’s Central Business District
“Today’s hearing is going to focus on the ever-evolving and increasingly vital missions the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard face on a daily basis. They are the premier lifeline when our boaters are lost, when our ports need securing, our coastal borders need protecting, and when many other essential needs arise.
“When it comes to addressing the flow of migrants, my home state of Florida continues to be the state that needs the most resources. The Coast Guard has dealt admirably with the continued increase in Cuban migrants attempting to make it to our shores.
“Because of the repression in Cuba, it’s no wonder that so many Cubans are boarding makeshift rafts in the middle of the night to seek a better life. In fact, as what I believe is a direct result of this Administration’s flawed policy toward Cuba, we have seen a 196% increase in migrant interdictions from the first quarter of [fiscal year] 2014 to the same time period in 2016. It is usually the Coast Guard that first encounters, and often rescues, those who have fled.
“What is staggering is the lengths these migrants will go to evade capture, or force transport to a U.S. hospital. Incidents aboard Coast Guard vessels have included stabbing themselves with knives, swallowing hazardous materials such as fuel and bleach, self-inflicted gun-shot wounds, and attempting to flee, often by jumping overboard in the middle of the sea. It was recently reported that a migrant attempted to light a Molotov cocktail during an interdiction last summer.
“It is these acts and the increase in violent and noncompliant behavior that put the men and women of our Coast Guard in additional danger. As the Admiral states in his written testimony, it is this capable and talented workforce that is the Coast Guard’s greatest strength, and it is they who are best equipped to handle this extreme behavior.
“Once migrants are first detected, the job of the Coast Guard has just begun. This is evidenced by the May 20th instance where 19 Cuban migrants climbed a lighthouse structure in the Florida Keys. While the Coast Guard was able to talk the migrants off the structure, the next day, two more migrants were found on the lighthouse. It was determined they had hidden during the previous day’s interdiction. It was then reported that another individual from the same group was clinging to a piece of driftwood four miles from Sugarloaf Key. In total, 24 migrants await a decision on their fate from the courts aboard Cutter Diligence.
“Today marks 26 days the migrants have been under the care of the U.S. Coast Guard, with a decision from the judge not expected for another two to three weeks. We must remember that although the mission is to intercept and ensure safety of life, unfortunately scores of migrants who attempt to make the dangerous journey across the Florida Straits are not successful and succumb to the elements or they drown.
“I was fortunate enough to recently spend the day with the Coast Guard in Florida. I was briefed aboard the fast response cutter, Margaret Norvell, on the protocols for interdicting and processing migrants. Every person brought on board is given medical treatment, food, water, shelter and clothing.
“They are also provided access to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for an immigration screening, where it is determined whether or not they qualify for asylum. If it is determined they do not qualify for that status, it can be days or weeks before the migrants are repatriated to Cuba.
“Migrant interdiction is not the only mission vital to ensuring the waters and well-being of the American people. As the lead federal agency in charge of maritime drug interdictions, the Coast Guard is increasingly responsible for stopping the flow of illicit drugs into the United States. This year alone, the Coast Guard has seized approximately 290,000 pounds of cocaine, more than 41,000 pounds of marijuana, they’ve arrested 413 smugglers, and they’ve seized 119 vessels.
“The drug rings that propel the illicit trades have vast resources to move narcotics into this country. These organizations are using advanced methods of smuggling, as evidenced by the Coast Guard intercepting two self-propelled, semi-submersibles in the Pacific Ocean within the last year. These efforts prevented 28 metric tons of cocaine from reaching our communities.
“Search and rescue missions also represent a vital task of the Coast Guard. One only needs to turn on the news on many days in my home state to know that this is an apt description that their motto, ‘Semper Paratus’ means ‘Always Ready.’
“In 2015 alone, the Coast Guard performed 3,174 search and rescue missions off the coast of Florida. It was the Coast Guard that quickly responded and did everything they could to find Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos, two teenage boys sadly lost at sea last summer. Just last week, Coast Guard Sector in St. Petersburg was able to locate and rescue five people aboard a disabled boat 60 miles off the Gulf of Mexico coast.
“And lastly, I would be remiss not to recognize the Coast Guard’s valiant efforts in searching for the 33 souls lost aboard the El Faro last October. Hurricane winds would not stop them from seeking the cargo ship that ultimately succumbed to Hurricane Joaquin. These are just a few of many examples that show how much we rely on the men and women of the Coast Guard to quickly respond when we need them the most.
“In closing, Florida has an incredibly high rate of boating accidents. In 2015, there were 55 fatalities and 737 accidents reported in Florida. I know we can do better, and education is the key to accomplishing that.
“We recently observed ‘National Safe Boating Week,’ and I urge everyone to follow the tenets of responsible boating. I would note that the Coast Guard has provided a mobile app for boating safety, where you can find state boating information, a safety checklist, navigation rules, the ability to report a hazard or pollution, request emergency assistance and other important features.”
Office of Advocacy’s Anniversary Symposium
June 22, 2016
Washington Court Hotel
525 New Jersey Ave N.W.
Click here for more information on the nominees.
1. S. 2283, Small Business Broadband Deployment Act of 2015, Sponsors: Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska)
2. S. 1490, Seniors Fraud Prevention Act of 2015, Sponsors: Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)
3. S. 3038, Coastal Coordination Act of 2016, Sponsors: Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)
4. Nominations for promotion in the Coast Guard
a. Rear Adm. Marshall B. Lytle III, U.S. Coast Guard
b. Vice Adm. Fred M. Midgette, U.S. Coast Guard
5. Nomination of Rebecca F. Dye, of North Carolina, to be a Federal Maritime Commissioner (reappointment)
* Agenda subject to change
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
10:00 a.m. ET
Full Committee Hearing
Senate Russell Building 253
A live video of the markup and additional information will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov
Mr. Chairman, I want to open by thanking the members of the committee who have expressed their heartfelt support for the victims of the Orlando tragedy. I, along with my fellow Floridians, are truly grateful and humbled by the outpouring of support from around the world. Such support is evidence that love can triumph over all, including fear, hate and tragedy. We are united as a community, state and nation in our resolve to honor the victims, as well as support the survivors and their families.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this markup.
Last week, on World Oceans Day, Senator Wicker and I introduced — the Coastal Coordination Act. As Gulf State Senators, we know the importance of coordination at all levels—local, state, and federal—when it comes to coastal zone management—both during emergency situations like an oil spill or a hurricane and during everyday governance.
In 1972, Congress enacted the Coastal Zone Management Act. And in the 44 years since, it’s been significantly amended only once—in 1990. The CZMA works well, and there are success stories from across the 34 states and territories that participate in the program.
But I want to highlight one from Florida. In 2011, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) approved an initiative by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to help communities become more resilient by planning for sea level rise. The funding provided by the Coastal Zone Management Act has allowed for Florida to test flood risk adaptation plans in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County. And though the project is still ongoing, last year the city unveiled the first 16 designated Adaptation Action Areas, with 38 planned projects. This initiative will allow Fort Lauderdale to construct coastal infrastructure like roads to better accommodate rising sea levels.
The Coastal Zone Management Act has also given states the ability to have a say in federal actions that have the potential to undermine the states resources or uses of its coast. But Congress hasn’t reauthorized the bill in decades—even though our coasts are changing and development is booming.
This bill encourages states to work together on interstate and regional issues—like the efforts of the five Gulf States to come together with federal partners to respond to the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. Because fish, water, sand, and weather don’t know where one state ends and another begins. And it acknowledges the incredible resource we have in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System.
My state is home to three unique and diverse estuarine reserves—in the Apalachicola Bay off the Panhandle, Rookery Bay on the Southwest coast, and Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas on our Atlantic coast. All three are home to excellent research, education, and training opportunities. But I’ll give you just one example of how the research at these reserves can improve coastal management.
The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River system flows through three states: Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. It feeds a world-class oyster fishery in Apalachicola Bay. But so much water is being taken out of the system in Georgia that the oyster population is on the brink of collapse. In 2013, this committee held a field hearing in Apalachicola. That same year the plight of the Apalachicola oysters was so dire that the Secretary of Commerce declared a federal fishery disaster.
Well, each year, two graduate students are funded specifically to conduct priority research in the reserve at Apalachicola Bay. And that research has laid the scientific foundation for us to understand that reduced freshwater flows from the river are harming the environment of the Bay. The work of the estuarine reserve system directly benefits coastal management decisions.
So management of our ocean and coastal resources must be coordinated across all levels of government, and states must work together to find regional solutions so that we minimize conflict and reduce duplication. That’s what this bill is about. And that’s why it enjoys the support of the Coastal States Organization, the National Estuarine Research Reserves Association, and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. I’ve got a few letters of support here that I will enter for the record. With that, I urge my colleagues to support the bill.
The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act of 2015 is also before us today. Introduced by Senator Klobuchar, this bipartisan bill would create an advisory office in the Bureau of Consumer Protection to help the Federal Trade Commission crack down on fraud that targets elderly Americans. The bill has been endorsed by the AARP and the Elder Justice Coalition. As a senator from the state of Florida and as the former Chairman of the Aging Committee, I am all too aware of how fraudsters and con-artists specifically target the elderly. Too often, our senior citizens are fleeced of their life savings by criminals who exploit their financial stability. Senator Klobuchar’s bill will enhance the FTC’s ongoing work to sharply focus on deceptive acts and practices against seniors and would further draw from the expertise from a wide array of government agencies. I want to commend Senator Klobuchar for her commitment to protecting senior citizens, and I also want to commend the dedicated staff at the FTC for their ongoing and important outreach and enforcement activities.
The Small Business Broadband Deployment Act of 2016 is also on today’s agenda. Senators Daines, Manchin and Cantwell have worked hard to reach an agreement on that bill. While I respect the goals of this legislation, the bill, if passed, would mean that approximately three million more consumers – for a total of nine million consumers – will lose access to important information about how their broadband provider operates its network. All consumers, irrespective of the size of their broadband providers, deserve information about the fees associated with their service, along with how their monthly broadband usage can affect their rates.
I also want to touch briefly on yesterday’s decision from the D.C. Circuit affirming the FCC’s net neutrality rules. I am pleased that the court upheld these important open Internet protections. It is a significant milestone for consumer protections on the Internet and a strong affirmation by the court of the FCC’s authority under the Communications Act.
We also have a number of nominations on the agenda today.
Rear Admiral Marshall B. Lytle III is nominated for promotion to the grade of Vice Admiral, to serve as Director for Command, Communications, and Computers/Cyber and as Chief Information Officer on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. And Vice Admiral Fred M. Midgette is nominated to serve as the Pacific Area Commander, in which position he will be the operational commander for all Coast Guard missions from the Rocky Mountains to the waters off the East Coast of Africa.
Blair Anderson has been nominated to one of the top policy spots at the Department of Transportation. As the Under Secretary for Policy, he would be the principal advisor to the secretary and help coordinate all of the Department’s policy efforts. As the Department works to quickly implement the FAST Act, it is vital that there is a strong leader in this role.
We are also considering Rebecca Dye’s renomination to be commissioner on the Federal Maritime Commission. She has been a valuable member of the commission.We need to get these nominations passed and also move nominations that have been stuck on the floor, including Dan Maffei to be a commissioner on the Federal Maritime Commission and Scott Darling to be administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
"While the full agenda for the next markup is not set, we do plan to consider the soon-to-be-introduced American Innovation and Competitiveness Act that Senators Gardner and Peters have been working on, as well as Senator Roberts’ Kelsey Smith Act, which is cosponsored by Senators Moran, Blunt, Ayotte, and Fischer.
"Today, we will be considering a handful of measures and nominations. The first item on the agenda, Senator Daines’ Small Business Broadband Deployment Act, which takes one component of the difficult and sometimes toxic debate over Internet regulations, and tries to strike an honest and reasonable compromise that both protects Internet end users and relieves regulatory burdens that disproportionately affect small Internet providers.
"The language of the bipartisan Daines-Manchin substitute, which we expect to be accepted by voice vote today, passed the House of Represenatives by a unanimous 411 to zero vote on March 16.
"The final legislative item on the agenda, the Coast Coordination Act of 2016, sponorsed by Senators Nelson and Wicker, reauthorizes the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 and ensures regional coordination in the Gulf of Mexico in order to reduce duplication of efforts and maximize efficiencies.
"We also have two civilian nominations on today’s agenda. Rebecca Dye has been a member of the Federal Maritime Commission since 2002, and President Obama has reappointed her to another term. I appreciate Ms. Dye’s many years of service on the Commission, and look forward to working with her as she continues her service.
"The agenda also includes the nomination of Blair Anderson to be Under Secretary for Policy at the Department of Transportation. Mr. Anderson is currently serving as the Deputy Administrator at the National Highway Safety Administration. Prior to that, he served as the Acting Chief Financial Officer at the Department of Transportation. Mr. Anderson has a wide range of experience at DOT, and I think he is well qualified to take up this important policy post at DOT.
Administrator Roth, Mayor Rawlings-Blake and Nate Loewentheil, Senior Policy Advisor at the National Economic Council, Announce Sale of Metro West
Job Creators Tell Committee Members: DOL Overtime Rule Bad for Their Businesses
WASHINGTON – Today, House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) held a roundtable discussion with small business owners from across the country on how their businesses and workers will be harmed by the new overtime rule issued by theDepartment of Labor last month. Committee members and entrepreneurs discussed how the Obama Administration’s pattern of regulatory overreach has created an atmosphere of uncertainty for America’s small businesses and hurt the very employees they claim to help.
“For months now, our Committee has been warning the Obama administration that the proposed DOL overtime rule will be a disaster for America’s 28 million small businesses and their workers,” said Chairman Chabot (R-OH). “With the December 1st compliance deadline approaching, small employers and their employees are now dealing with the consequences of this terrible policy in the form of job losses, demotions, less flexibility, lower wages, and reduced benefits.Today’s discussion highlighted just how devastating this rule will be for the millions of Americans who go to work every day at a small business. During these difficult times, small businesses need to know we have their back and will continue to do all we can to slash the government red tape that is harming them.”
Participants in the roundtable included Committee members Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS) and Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH), as well as Ms. Rudaina Hamade of Renaissance Property Management Solutions, LLC in Dearborn, MI, Mr. Ron Collins, of JCM Industries in Nash, TX, Mr. Harold Jackson of Buffalo Supply in Lafayette, CO, Ms. Ciara Stockeland, the Founder and COO of Mama Mia Inc. / MODE in Fargo, ND, Dr. Herb Sohn, the Owner of Strauss Surgical Group in Chicago, IL, Ms. Maxine Turner, President of Cuisine Unlimited Inc. in Salt Lake City, UT, Mr. Ian MacLean, of Highland Landscaping, LLC in Southlake, TX, and Mr. Jeffrey G. Tucker of Tucker Company Worldwide, Inc. in Haddonfield, NJ.
Chabot, Committee Members talk cutting government red tape with a diverse roundtable of small business owners from across the United States
The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking input from industry stakeholders on the challenges of identification, authentication, and authorization for devices with the ability to connect to the internet and to send and receive data, including requirements for authentication and authorization of autonomous non-person entities (NPE) found in smart home devices.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), the ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee issued the following statement on today’s decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the FCC's net neutrality rules:
“I am pleased that the court upheld the important open Internet protections that the FCC put into place last year,” said Nelson. “This is a significant milestone for consumer protections on the Internet.”
Third Plank of Bold Agenda Includes More Than 100 Ideas to Tackle Excessive Regulations, Develop American Energy, and Promote Financial Independence
This is the third plank of A Better Way, a bold agenda to tackle some of our country’s biggest challenges. Last week, Republicans unveiled initiatives aimed atlifting people out of poverty andkeeping the American people safe.
Our plan—available now at better.gop—is comprised of at least 101 ideas, including:
· Fewer and smarter regulations. Cut down on needless regulations and make the rules we do need more efficient and effective.
· More affordable and reliable energy. Connect our energy boom to consumers, responsibly produce more of our own resources, and end needless delays that hold up jobs and projects.
· More financial independence and no more bailouts. Reward people who work hard and do the right thing, and put an end to Wall Street bailouts.
· More choices for workers and students. Make it easier for people to excel in schools and workplaces, and rip up the red tape that gets in their way.
· Real Internet innovation. Establish clear and consumer-friendly rules that prevent the FCC from making up regulations as it goes along.
· A crack down on lawsuit abuse. Keep trial lawyers in check, and improve protections for consumers and small businesses.
These ideas were developed by the Task Force on Reducing Regulatory Burdens, which includes: Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX), Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT), Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH), and Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA).
About A Better Way. A Better Way is a bold policy agenda to address some of the country’s biggest challenges. It takes our timeless principles—liberty, free enterprise, consent of the governed—and applies them to the problems of our time. Developed with input from around the country, it starts the debate now on what we can achieve in 2017 and beyond. It is our vision for a Confident America, at home and abroad. Now we are taking these ideas to the people, so you have a clear choice about the direction of the country. To learn more, visit better.gop.