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Rubio Applauds Commerce Committee Passage of the Restore Coast Guard Capabilities Act to Build Offshore Patrol Cutters
Washington D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) applauded the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s approval of his Restore Coast Guard Capabilities Act (S.2319) as part of the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act of 2019 (S. 2297). Rubio’s bill would give the U.S. Coast Guard the authority to take into account the impacts of Hurricane Michael to modify its Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) contract with Panama City-based Eastern Shipbuilding.
On October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael wreaked havoc in Northwest Florida, and made history as one of only four category 5 hurricanes to make landfall on the U.S. mainland. The Coast Guard has requested this authority that would provide much needed flexibility to modify the OPC contract, while not exceeding the original affordability requirement set forth by the government in the existing contract, as a result of skyrocketing labor costs due to Hurricane Michael. The Coast Guard maintains that acquisition of the OPC is its highest investment priority.
“Continuing authorizations for the Coast Guard to protect Florida’s waterways and our nation’s homeland security is imperative,” Rubio said. “I applaud the Senate Commerce Committee on approving this larger reauthorization, which includes several of my joint priorities that are critical to the Coast Guard’s mission readiness. As a result of my partnership with Senator Scott, the bill now includes our Restore Coast Guard Capabilities Act, which will ensure the Coast Guard has the tools necessary to safeguard the Offshore Patrol Cutter even after the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael.”
Today, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation approved the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act of 2019 (S. 2297), which included several Rubio priorities:
- The Restore Coast Guard Capabilities Act (S. 2319), adopted as an amendment offered by Senator Scott
- Section 426: Coast Guard Shore Infrastructure Improvement Act
- Section 221: Continuation of Coast Guard pay during lapse in appropriations. Senator Rubio is a cosponsor of the Pay Our Coast Guard Act (S. 21)
Eastern Shipbuilding is under contract with the Coast Guard to deliver up to 25 OPCs, the Coast Guard’s highest priority investment program. However, Hurricane Michael significantly damaged Tyndall Air Force Base and the labor needed to rebuild the base is competing directly with the labor to fulfill the OPC contract. As a result, the Coast Guard has requested authorization from Congress to potentially revisit the contract to take into account the increased labor costs associated with the category 5 hurricane.
- July 30, 2019: Rubio, Scott Introduce Bill to Provide Coast Guard with Needed Authority to Build Offshore Patrol Cutters
- July 23, 2019: Rubio Introduces Legislation to Reduce Maintenance Backlog for Critical Coast Guard Infrastructure
- January 16, 2019: Rubio Joins Colleagues In Supporting Pay Our Coast Guard Act