Washington Waves
Washington Waves

House Narrowly Approves Corps, MarAd Appropriations Bill

Washington, D.C.—The House approved its first fiscal year 2023 appropriations measure that included funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Maritime Administration and a number of other federal programs.

Passed by a party-line vote of 220 to 207, H.R. 8294 moved as a minibus with six of the 12 annual spending bills needed to keep the government funded.

That partisan tally validated repeated warnings from Republicans that the bill, as written, will never win the necessary super-majority vote in the evenly divided Senate to advance to the president’s desk and become law.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a veteran member of the House Appropriations Committee, called the package of bills a “nonstarter.”“As Democrats are well aware, a final deal on full-year appropriations will not be possible until partisan policy riders are removed, longstanding bipartisan pro-life provisions are restored and defense spending is increased,” Cole said.

Democrats continued to promote the benefits provided by the spending.

“Modernized ports and waterways ensure industrial and agricultural goods make their way to market reliably and affordably,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), chair of the Energy and Water appropriations subcommittee.

Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee are expected to release their versions of the FY 2023 spending bills in late July, just before lawmakers leave for their annual August break.

Those tracking the annual process believe that timing will guarantee a stopgap funding measure will be needed to keep the government funded at current levels of spending into the new fiscal year and even into December and maybe into the new Congress.

In addition to Energy and Water and Transportation, the package passed by the House also included funding for Housing, Agriculture, Financial Services, Interior and Environment, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs programs.

Centers Of Excellence

The Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration invited qualified facilities to apply for designation as a Center of Excellence (CoE) for maritime workforce training and education.

CoE designations serve to assist the maritime industry in obtaining and maintaining the highest quality workforce.

Applications must be submitted by 8 p.m. EDT September 19 via email to CoEDMWTE@dot.gov.

The original application letter, including one copy of all supporting information and documents, also may be mailed to U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, Deputy Associate Administrator for Maritime Education and Training, Attention: CoE Designation Program, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, D.C. 20590.

For additional information, contact Gerard Wall at 202-366-7273 or gerard.wall@dot.gov.

Marine Highway Applications

The Department of Transportation (DOT) and its Maritime Administration (MarAd) announced the extension of the open season for the America’s Marine Highway Program (AMHP) Marine Highway Project Designation application submissions.

With the open season now extended until September 30, 2025, eligible applicants are invited to submit Marine Highway Project Designation applications to DOT for review and consideration.

MarAd announced 10 project application due dates, each of which will be followed by a three-month project review period. The deadlines are September 30, 2022; January 31, 2023, May 31, 2023; September 30, 2023; January 1, 2024; May 31, 2024; September 30, 2024; January 31, 2025; May 31, 2025; and September 30, 2025.

Applications for new Project Designations or to renew current Project Designations can be submitted via hard copy to the AMHP, Office of Ports & Waterways Planning, W21–233, U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, D.C. 20590, or via email to mh@dot.gov. Electronic applications are preferred.

For additional information, contact Timothy Pickering at 202-366-0704 or mh@dot.gov.

Subchapter M 

Rear Adm. W.R., Arguin, the Coast Guard’s assistant commandant for Prevention Policy, “with enthusiasm” announced the conclusion of the Subchapter M Towing Vessel Certificate of Inspection (COI) phase-in period and welcomed more than 5,000 towing vessels into U.S. domestic inspected status.

“This is a historic occasion for both the commercial towing industry and the Coast Guard as we have been working toward this moment since the 2004 Authorization Act, which added towing vessels as an inspected class,” Arguin stated.

To operate commercially, he added, 100 percent of towing vessels must have valid COIs on board.

 Arguin said the milestone not only marks the end of almost 20 years of work with industry partners but also the first time the Coast Guard successfully implemented a dual inspection subchapter, which includes a new comprehensive safety management system for both company and vessel compliance.

For additional information, contact the local Officer in Charge, Marine inspections or CGCVC@uscg.mil.

Users Board To Meet

The Inland Waterways Users Board is scheduled to meet August 16 in Walla Walla, Wash., to review the status of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund and receive updates on funding for navigation for fiscal year 2022, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and current and future inland waterways projects.

Open to the public, the meeting is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. PDT at the Courtyard by Marriott Walla Walla, 550 W. Rose St., Walla Walla, Wash. 99362.

The online portion of the meeting also will be available at https://usace1.webex.com/meet/ndc.nav, and by call-in at USA toll-free 844-800-2712 and USA Caller Paid/International Toll: 1–669-234-1177 Access Code: 199 117 3596, Security Code 1234.

For additional information, Mark Pointon at 703-428-6438 or Mark.Pointon@usace.army.mil.

Ocean Shipping Reform

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 27, to receive a briefing on the new Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022.

With that portion open to the public, the meeting will be held at the FMC, 800 N. Capitol St. NW, 1st Floor Hearing Room, Washington, D.C., and also will be streamed live at www.fmc.gov.

Seating will be limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis for those who registered in advance.

Requests to attend the meeting in-person should be submitted by 5 p.m. Eastern, Monday, July 25 to secretary@fmc.gov with “July 27, 2022, Commission Meeting” in the subject line.

The rest of the meeting will be closed to the public.

For additional information, contact William Cody at 202-523-5725.