Washington Waves
Washington Waves

WRDA Placeholder Added to Defense Authorization Act

Washington, D.C.—With a legislative calendar growing shorter, a placeholder for an unfinished Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) was included in the Senate’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Viewed as a must-pass measure, the NDAA is expected to be taken up quickly in the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress following the mid-term elections.

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, brought his panel’s version of NDAA to the floor, saying 75 amendments, including six major authorization bills from other committees, also will be considered.

From the other side of the Capitol, veteran Rep. Peter DeFazio, (D-Ore.) chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, was described as supportive of the Senate’s effort to add its WRDA as an amendment to the NDAA.

DeFazio, who is retiring from Congress, remains optimistic that he will see the fifth consecutive, bipartisan WRDA signed into law before he leaves.

Meanwhile, work continues on a final version of the biennial legislation.

Both WRDA and the NDAA historically have enjoyed wide bipartisan support in Congress.

The Biden administration backed enacting an NDAA for a 62nd consecutive year in its Statement of Administration Policy, but also expressed strong opposition to several provisions in the Senate version.

Those range from provisions the administration says would limit its ability to retire lower-priority platforms and certain Navy ships and fail to provide full funding for military construction projects to those raising constitutional concerns.

Another Jones Act Waiver

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas approved a second “temporary and targeted” Jones Act waiver to address Puerto Rico’s need for liquefied natural gas to aid its recovery from Hurricane Fiona.

“As with the previous waiver, the decision to approve was made in consultation with the departments of Transportation and Energy to assess the justification for the waiver request and based on input from the governor of Puerto Rico and others on the ground supporting recovery efforts,” he said in his statement.

And, once again, Mayorkas described the “vital” role the Jones Act plays in maintaining the strength of the American shipbuilding and maritime industries by requiring all maritime cargo transport between U.S. ports to occur on U.S.-flagged vessels.

So far, this second waiver has not prompted the type of criticism triggered by the initial waiver, which dealt with diesel fuel.

Inactive Vessels

The Coast Guard Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance (CVC) announced the publication of CG CVC-WI-018(2), Laid up Inspected/Examined Vessels, to clarify industry notification requirements on vessels going into inactive status.

The updated Work Instruction also explains when a third-party organization (TPO) can issue specific non-conformities (or deficiencies) to Subchapter M TSMS option vessels, while in an inactive vessel status.

A complete list of changes can be found at the beginning of the document.

For additional information, contact CGCVC@uscg.mil.