Washington Waves
Washington Waves

McCarthy Elected House Speaker, Graves To Chair T&I Committee

Washington, D.C.—California Republican Kevin McCarthy has reached his years-long goal of being elected speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

His narrow victory came after four days of repeated defeats and on the historic 15th ballot, following a face-off on the floor of the “people’s house” with one of his harshest GOP opponents.

Minutes later, during a vote on adjourning, the days-long impasse was broken by a midnight-hour agreement that involved six of McCarthy’s opponents voting “present.”

That cut the number of votes McCarthy needed to win, leading to his 216 to 212 victory.

“That was easy, huh?” McCarthy quipped after being handed the gavel.

“I never thought we’d get up here.”

After taking the oath of office himself, McCarthy swore in the other members of the House.

In another key vote days later, the Republicans approved a rules package that included changes that some warned will lead to serious challenges for the splintered majority party.

Much of the attention focused on a change to allow a motion to vacate the speaker’s chair by only one member.

Even Republicans expressed concern over the way the changes in the rules were hashed out in secret.

“No backroom deals. Period,” tweeted Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.).

Democrats warned McCarthy gave away too much to win the support of his Republican critics.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) predicted concessions McCarthy made to “extremists” in his party could lead to a government shutdown or a default with devastating consequences to the country.

With the speakership settled and rules in place, House committees were able to organize.

Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), as expected, was named chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Graves had served as the panel’s top Republican when Democrats were in the majority.

Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) was named the new ranking member.

In their initial statements, both men listed a Coast Guard bill and a Water Resources Development Act among their top legislative goals for the 118th Congress.

NMSAC Meeting Set

The National Maritime Security Advisory Committee is scheduled to conduct a series of meetings on January 24 and 25 in Baton Rouge, La., to discuss sharing information related to cybersecurity risks that may cause a transportation security incident and other matters related to national maritime security.

Open to the public and also held virtually, the meetings on both days are set to begin at 9 a.m. CST at Louisiana State University Foundation Building, 3796 Nicholson Dr., Baton Rouge, La. 70802.

Written comments and documents should be submitted by January 22 to ensure they are received before the meetings and may be submitted at www.regulations.gov.

For additional information, contact Ryan Owens at 202-302-6565 or ryan.f.owens@uscg.mil.

Great Lakes Pilotage Committee

The Great Lakes Pilotage Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet February 8 in Covington, La., to discuss proposed regulations and other matters relating to Great Lakes Pilotage.

Open to the public, the meeting is set to begin at 8 a.m. CST at the Covington Firehouse Event Center, 432 N. Theard St., Covington, La., 70433.

Written comments should be submitted at www.regulations.gov by February 1 to ensure they are received before the meeting.

Contact Frank Levesque at 571-308-4941 or Francis.R.Levesque@uscg.mil for additional information on accommodation due to a disability, material that cannot be submitted through the federal portal and other matters.

Academy Capital Improvements

The Maritime Administration (MarAd) and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) released the USMMA Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2022.

Projects the FY 2022 CIP supports include the rehabilitation of the academic building Samuels Hall, the rehabilitation of the Fulton-Gibbs complex, including essential engineering labs, removal of a dilapidated pier and protection of the waterfront basin.

Over the longer term, the FY 2022 CIP seeks to construct both a new academic building and an activity center for students.

“The 2022 CIP prioritizes projects that will address the academy’s most urgent needs to provide a safer and more secure campus, support Midshipmen well-being and advance USMMA’s academic mission,” said Maritime Administrator and retired Rear Admiral Ann Phillips.

Natural Disaster Procedures

Responding to requests for additional time, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers extended the comment period by another 30 days on a proposed rule to revise its natural disaster procedures under the regulations implementing a section of the Flood Control Act.

Written comments now must be submitted by February 16.

Identified by docket number COE-2021-0008, the comments can be submitted at www.regulations.gov, 33CFR203@usace.army.mil or mail: HQ, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ATTN: 33CFR203/CECW– HS/3H63, 441 G St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20314–1000.

For additional information, contact Willem Helms at 202-761-5909 or willem.h.helms@usace.army.mil.