Washington Waves
Washington Waves

Senate Working on Funding Stopgap Measure

Washington, D.C.—Ending its traditional August break, the Senate returned to face a fast-approaching deadline to pass a stopgap measure and keep federal agencies funded.

“We must fund the government before September 30,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters.

At a separate press briefing, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agreed.

“As we look ahead, obviously the one thing we need to do is to pass a continuing resolution (CR),” McConnell said.

Schumer also provided a key update by suggesting a temporary CR should run through mid-December.

“We prefer to get an omnibus bill done before the end of the year,” he said, referring to a massive spending bill that would allow lawmakers to make the kind of major legislative changes traditionally not made in routine CRs.

Obviously a CR that runs into December would keep the government funded not only past the crucial November elections but also the Thanksgiving holiday.
Beyond agreeing to avoid a shutdown, the two Senate leaders appeared to remain far apart on exactly what else should be in the CR.

“I think the key to getting the CR done with the least amount of controversy is for it to be as clean as possible,” McConnell said.

During his comments, Schumer cited a handful of Democratic legislative goals he wants considered as soon as possible, and indicated at least some of them might end up in the CR.

They ranged from permitting reform to funding for Ukraine.

McConnell conceded additional aid to help Ukraine fight its war with Russia was supported by Republicans, adding the topic was being discussed by leading Senate appropriators.

State Regulation

The Coast Guard is seeking comments on an interim rule to remove an incorrect statement about field pre-emption of state or local regulations regarding inland navigation.

By removing the incorrect language that dates back to a 2014 rulemaking, the Coast Guard explained, the interim rule clarifies the ability of states to regulate inland navigation as they have historically done.

The interim rule took effect September 6 but does not require states to take any action.

Comments and related material must be received by December 5 and may be submitted via www.regulations.gov and identified by docket number USCG-2022-0071.

For additional information, contact Jeffrey Decker at 202-372-1507 or Jeffrey.E.Decker@uscg.mil.

NVDC Survey

The National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC) announced it has posted a survey for its customers.

“We strive to ensure your interactions with the NVDC are performed with professionalism, respect, and that we provide you with correct information,” the agency stated on the Maritime Commons blog.

“We also are interested in knowing if you used a third-party entity—rather than working directly with NVDC—to receive your Certificate of Documentation (COD).”

The Coast Guard is aware that third-party companies will submit your application for vessel documentation at an additional cost outside of its user fees, the NVDC stated.

“However, third-party agents are not allowed to issue CODs,” it added.

On its website, the NVDC provided links to user fees collected by the Coast Guard and the customer survey.

Maritime Training Providers

The National Maritime Center (NMC) reported the inventory of maritime training courses awaiting evaluation has been reduced by more than two-thirds since January.

NMC also reminded maritime training providers (MTPs) it will continue to prioritize applications with a focus on original requests, modifications and those renewals with upcoming expirations.

“We will evaluate a return to first in, first out processing as dated inventory cycles out of the system,” NMC said.

NMC also noted that some providers have allowed additional information (AI) requests to time out without responses.

“Failure to address these requests will result in extensions being rescinded. If you are unable to provide a timely response, please request an extension in accordance with the information found in the AI letter,” NMC stated.

“Communication is the key. Address any questions or concerns to NMCCourses@uscg.mil.”

Referring to the January bulletin requesting MTPs begin submitting renewal requests in July and at least 90 days in advance of expiration, NMC said the number of renewal requests is not keeping up with upcoming expirations.