Washington, D.C.—Democrats are struggling to regroup on President Joe Biden’s massive Build Back Better plan after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) derailed it by announcing he was a “no” on moving it forward.
In an evenly divided Senate, Democrats must have all 50 of their current votes to give Vice President Kamala Harris an opportunity to cast her tie-breaking vote to pass the measure.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wasted no time in serving notice that senators are not finished with the president’s vision for the country.
“We simply cannot give up,” Schumer said in a “Dear Colleague” letter to his fellow Democrats, ticking off key issues addressed in the plan.
“Therefore, senators should be aware that the Senate will, in fact, consider the Build Back Better Act, very early in the new year.”
“We are going to vote on a revised version of the House-passed Build Back Better Act—and we will keep voting on it until we get something done.”
In addition to social spending issues, Biden’s roughly $1.7 trillion Build Back Better vision also is expected to provide millions more for infrastructure.
After the White House offered an unusually pointed version of Manchin’s action it clearly was not prepared to hear and the senator’s strong defense, it appeared both sides were ready to set aside past disappointments and move foreward.
The National Maritime Center (NMC) reminded mariners that credentials lost or destroyed in the recent tornadoes across several states can be replaced free of charge in accordance with federal regulations.
According to the NMC, affected mariners hoping to obtain expedited replacement credentials should provide a statement of loss to the NMC via fax at 304-433-3412 or e-mail at IASKNMC@uscg.mil and include their full name, date of birth, reference number or Social Security number, a mailing address the replacement credentials should be sent to and a current phone number or e-mail address that can be used to contact the mariner.
The statement also should include a description of the circumstances surrounding the loss or destruction of the credential.
Unless otherwise requested, the NMC added, any duplicate Merchant Mariner Credentials issued per the request will include a corresponding Medical Certificate, if previously issued.
States listed in the NMC announcement included Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.
“We will make every effort to have duplicate credentials mailed out the next business day,” the NMC said.
“Alternatively, mariners may submit form CG-719B, Application for Merchant Mariner Credential, to one of the Regional Exam Centers with the information above. If your credential is unserviceable due to damage or your lost credential is subsequently found, that credential should be mailed to the National Maritime Center.”
For additional information, contact the NMC via its Online Chat or Ticketing System by e-mailing IASKNMC@uscg.mil or by calling 888-IASKNMC (427-5662).
Marine Engineering Standards
The Coast Guard extended its comment period by 45 days on a proposed rule to update Marine Engineering Standards originally published in October.
Comments now must be received by the Coast Guard by February 3.
The proposed rule proposes to incorporate by reference updated marine engineering standards and eliminate outdated or unnecessarily prescriptive regulations.
“We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov,” the Coast Guard stated.
For alternate methods for submitting comments and for additional information, contact Thane Gilman at 202-372-1383.
Maritime Funding Welcomed
The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) welcomed federal funding that is being directed at seaports and marine highway programs to address supply chain disruptions and boost the movement of goods along navigable waterways.
“Maritime transport is the safest, cheapest, and greenest means of transport we have,” said AAPA President and CEO Chris Connor. “The Marine Highway program is a throwback to the industrial boom that made America what it is today—it’s why a marine canal was used to move the building materials for the U.S. Capitol itself.
“Policymakers understand this, which is why this program has gotten a recent financial boost, and it’s why anyone who cares about unsnarling road traffic should support even more funding.”
Connor’s remarks followed the Biden administration’s announcement that $12.6 million in grants under the America’s Marine Highway Program (AMHP) has been awarded to nine projects (WJ, December 20).
AAPA also pointed out more funding will be provided under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support marine highway projects and to increase the use of U.S. waterways.
Pop-Up Container Yards
After touring the Port of Savannah, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg outlined the Biden administration’s plans on pop-up container sites and trucking to a group of Georgia business leaders, agriculture exporters and labor.
With the support of Buttigieg’s agency, the Georgia Ports Authority recently converted five existing inland facilities in Georgia and North Carolina into pop-up container yards that are freeing up more dock space at the Port of Savannah and speeding up the flow of goods.
“The yards can handle more than 500,000 containers over the course of a year,” the Biden administration stated.
The Biden administration announced the Truck Action Plan will be part of its Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, which was launched in June to address near-term supply chain bottlenecks as the economy reopens.
Under the plan, the administration announced a series of immediate actions as well as those expected in the coming months to address challenges facing the trucking industry.
MACOSH To Meet
The Maritime Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH) is scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. Eastern on February 15 by teleconference and WebEx.
Workgroup agendas include discussion of line safety, on-dock rail safety, heat stress and prevention of fires on vessels; a summary of fire resistant/retardant materials also is expected to be provided.
Comments and requests to speak must be submitted by February 8 via www.regulations.gov.
The teleconference dial-in number and passcode are 1-888-972-9246 and 6530908; the WebEx link and password: https://usdolee.webex.com/usdolee/onstage/ g.php?MTID=ef16443d91d442fc7c01b7b904318cc55 and Welcome!24.
Submit requests for special accommodations by February 8 to Carla Marcellus at 202-693-1865.
Boating Safety Committee
The National Boating Safety Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet January 20 via teleconference to discuss matters relating to recreational boating safety.
Open to the public, the meeting is set to begin at noon Eastern.
To ensure comments are received by committee members before the teleconference, they should be submitted no later than January 17.
The number of teleconference lines will be limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Requests to join the teleconference or inquire about special accommodations must be submitted by 1 p.m. January 17.
For additional information and to register as a speaker during the teleconference, contact Jeff Decker at 202–372–1507.