September’s Congressional Wrap Up

2018-10-09T16:40:25+00:00 October 9, 2018|

From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff 

What Passed

For the first time in over two decades, five appropriation bills were signed into law before the end of the fiscal year (FY). The first FY 2019 appropriations “minibus” (H.R. 5895, P.L. 155-244) includes $147 billion for agencies included in the Energy-Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs appropriations bills. The second minibus (H.R. 6157, P.L. 155-245) provides $825.5 billion in funding for the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. It also includes a continuing resolution (CR) funding agencies covered under the remaining seven bills at FY 2018 levels until December 7, 2018.

The Save Our Seas Act of 2018 (S. 3508) passed both chambers by unanimous consent and awaits the signature of the president. This bill seeks to reauthorize the Marine Debris Program under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and promotes international collaboration to address the growing problem of marine debris.

What’s New

New legislation introduced in the House focused on aquaculture and building coastal resiliency. The Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture (AQUAA) Act (H.R. 6966) would restructure the permitting process for marine aquaculture farms in federal waters and fund research to support the growth of aquaculture in the nation. It is identical to S. 3138, which was introduced in the Senate in June.

The House also introduced a bill amending the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 (P.L. 190-432) to increase the percentage of oil and gas revenues paid to the Gulf states (H.R. 6771). This increased revenue would help fund projects in coastal resiliency, ecosystem restoration, and hurricane protection.

What’s Next

The Commercial Engagement Through Ocean Through Ocean Technology Act of 2018 (CENOTE, S. 2511) was received in the House after passing the Senate in late August and awaits committee action.

Both chambers are set to confer on a third minibus of spending bills (H.R. 6147), which includes funding for the Departments of Agriculture and Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and related agencies. Congress must still pass funding bills for the remaining agencies or another CR to continue spending by the December 7 deadline.

Related coverage from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership

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