Washington Waves
Washington Waves

Fight Looms Over Potential Stopgap Funding Measure

Washington, D.C.—Citing a looming deadline, the conservative Freedom Caucus laid out its demands on backing a stopgap funding measure to avoid a government shutdown.

Those demands ruled out support for a “clean” continuing resolution or short-term extensions that could lead to passage of a “monstrous, budget-busting, pork filled, lobbyist handout omnibus” spending bill in December.

Other demands on Ukraine funding and so-called “woke” policies at the Pentagon are expected to draw sharp opposition from Democrats.

“House Republicans are determined to shut down the government and crash our economy,” said House Minority Leader Hakeem Jefferies (D-N.Y.), who vowed to fight the “extremists every step of the way.” Given the slim Republican majority in the House, the Freedom Caucus position is expected to add to the pressure already facing Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

House members are scheduled to return to the Capitol September 12, one week after the Senate reconvenes following the traditional August break.

To avoid a government shutdown, a temporary funding measure will need to be approved by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden by midnight September 30.

NTSB Concerns

A government watchdog agency identified additional actions the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) needs to take to fulfill its mission.

In a report published on August 17, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) stated its recommendations could help NTSB better ensure accountability to Congress and the public.

“Congress has expressed concerns about the timeliness of NTSB’s accident investigation reports, the quality of its accident investigation data and whether the agency has sufficient staff to conduct its work,” GAO said.

Citing the growth and technical advancement in the transportation sector, GAO pointed out that according to NTSB’s own reports its staffing levels have remained about the same for the past 20 years.

GAO made six recommendations ranging from ensuring its future performance planning documents meet all statutory requirements to conducting a skill gap assessment.

“NTSB did not take a position on the recommendations but identified actions to address them,” GAO stated.

Exam Review Group

The National Maritime Center (NMC) announced the 2024 schedule for the merchant mariner working group that reviews examination questions for accuracy and availability of references.

“Participation in examination question review working groups is an opportunity to help the National Maritime Center and your fellow mariners make long-term improvements to the knowledge examination system,” the NMC stated.

“We need your expertise. Let your voice be heard.”

The schedule and process for requesting participation can be found at uscg.mil under the MARINERS icon.

For additional information, contact the NMC Customer Service Center by using the NMC online chat system, emailing IASKNMC@uscg.mil or calling 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662).

Return To Service

The Coast Guard announced a Return to Service initiative to help those who want to return after being separated due to the former COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

The Return2Service Team can be reached at SMB-COMDT-Return2ServiceInquiries@uscg.mil or 202-780-1984.

NMC Fax Numbers

The National Maritime Center (NMC) announced Regional Exam Centers (RECs) no longer will maintain separate fax lines.

Instead, as of August 25, applicants must use the following fax numbers designated by the Coast Guard to submit information.

• 304-433-3416, documentation for Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) applications, including CG-719B forms, MMC Awaiting Information (AI) submissions and duplicate requests.

• 304-433-3407, information on processing a Medical Certificate, including CG-719K/KE forms and medical AI submissions.

• 304-433-3408, documentation related to mariner training course approvals/renewals, designation examiners and Qualified Assessors.

• 304-433-3411, documentation and AI submissions related to safety and suitability screening, including court documents, TWIC information, citizenship documents and proof of residency.

• 304-433-3417, general inquiries, mariner record requests and World War II record requests.

Note the preferred method for submitting documentation remains e-mail, the NMC said, adding specific email addresses to use for each category may be found on the NMC website.

For additional information, concerns or feedback, contact the NMC Customer Service Center by emailing IASKNMC@uscg.mil or calling 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662).


The National Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee is scheduled to conduct a series of meetings September 6-7 in Bronx, N.Y., to discuss issues related to personnel in the U.S. Merchant Marine, including the training, qualifications, certification, documentation and fitness of mariners.

Set to begin at 9 a.m. EDT on both days, the meetings will be held at the Maritime Academic Center at the State University of New York Maritime College.

To ensure the committee can review comments before the meeting, submit them by August 30.

They may be submitted via www.regulations.gov with docket number USCG-2023-0585. For additional information on submitting comments, “reasonable accommodation” due to a disability or other issues, contact Megan Johns Henry at 202-372-1255 or megan.c.johns@uscg.mil as soon as possible.

FMC Decisions

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) announced an update to its compendium of initial and final decisions and selected orders that may be significant or establish legal precedent.

Incorporating the period of January through June 2023, “Decisions of the Federal Maritime Commission, Second Series (Volume 6)” can be found at fmc.gov.

Decisions and orders published in the volume may be cited by counsel and parties in Commission proceedings,” the FMC stated.

For additional information about the publication, contact secretary@fmc.gov.