June’s Congressional Wrap Up

2018-07-16T17:03:56+00:00 July 16, 2018|

From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff 

What Passed

Many appropriations bills moved last month, including the Senate’s Commerce-Justice-Science bill, which was approved by both the committee and subcommittee. So far, the full appropriations committees have approved all 12 bills in the Senate and 10 in the House. A minibus that includes the Energy-Water bill (H.R. 5895) passed both chambers and will head to conference this month, as will the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (H.R. 5515), which cleared the Senate in June.

Two bills focused on ocean health and security passed out of committee in the House. The Save Our Seas Act of 2017 (S. 756) would encourage collaboration at the national and international level to address the growing marine debris problem, while the Coast Guard Blue Technology Center of Expertise Act (H.R. 6206) would support ocean knowledge for national security through innovation and partnerships.

What’s New

Last month, the president released the Executive Order Regarding the Ocean Policy to Advance the Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States, emphasizing ocean use and economic prosperity. A statement from COL’s president and CEO Rear Adm. (Ret.) Jon White underscores the importance of ocean health, science-based decision making, and robust ocean knowledge for ensuring these national goals and highlights collaboration and the importance of partnerships moving forward. A new bill (H.R. 6300) aims to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to ocean sustainability and to provide certainty in coastal management planning by codifying the Obama-era ocean policy (Executive Order 13547), which was revoked by President Trump’s executive order.

New legislation in both chambers focuses on coastal resiliency and ecosystem health. The bills would request a study on ocean acidification from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Ocean Studies Board (H.R. 6270), establish an ocean acidification task force and maintain a shared data system (H.R. 6267), support research on coastal sustainability (H.R. 6288), direct the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to award grants for natural shoreline stabilization and restoration to coastal communities (S. 3087), reauthorize and amend the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 to include support for partnerships and research on coral disease and reef resiliency (H.R. 5996), and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Coral Reef Task Force (S. Res. 544).

What’s Next

Congress has less than three months to meet the September 30 deadline on appropriations, and it has been 21 years since all bills were passed on time. If more time is needed they must pass a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown.

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