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COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTUCTURE

BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania, Chairman DON YOUNG, Alaska

JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin

NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania HERBERT H. BATEMAN, Virginia

WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina

ROBERT E. WISE, JR., West Virginia JOHN J. DUNCAN, JR., Tennessee

JAMES A. TRAFICANT, JR., Ohio THOMAS W. EWING, Illinois

PETER A. DEFAZIO, Oregon WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland

BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee JAY KIM, California

JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois STEPHEN HORN, California

GLENN POSHARD, Illinois BOB FRANKS, New Jersey

ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of JOHN L. MICA, Florida

Columbia JACK QUINN, New York

JERROLD NADLER, New York TILLIE K. FOWLER, Florida

PAT DANNER, Missouri VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan

ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama

JAMES E. CLYBURN, South Carolina STEVEN C. LATOURETTE, Ohio

CORRINE BROWN, Florida SUE W. KELLY, New York

JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan RAY LAHOOD, Ilinois

BOB FILNER, California RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana

EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas FRANK RIGGS, California

FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania CHARLES F. BASS, New Hampshire

GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi ROBERT W. NEY, Ohio

JUANITA MILLENDER-MCDONALD, JACK METCALF, Washington

California JO ANN EMERSON, Missouri

ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland EDWARD A. PEASE, Indiana

EARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon ROY BLUNT, Missouri

MAX SANDLIN, Texas JOSEPH R. PITTS, Pennsylvania

ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California ASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas

BILL PASCRELL, JR., New Jersey MERRILL COOK, Utah

JAY W. JOHNSON, Wisconsin JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana

LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota

JAMES P. MCGOVERN, Massachusetts CHARLES W. "CHIP" PICKERING, JR., TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania Mississippi

NICK LAMPSON, Texas KAY GRANGER, Texas

JOHN ELIAS BALDACCI, Maine
JON D. FOX, Pennsylvania

MARION BERRY, Arkansas
THOMAS M. DAVIS, Virginia
FRANK A. LOBIONDO, New Jersey
J.C. WATTS, JR., Oklahoma
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
VITO FOSSELLA, New York

SUBCOMMITTEE ON COAST GUARD AND MARITIME TRANSPORTATION

WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland, Chairman FRANK A. LOBIONDO, New Jersey, Vice- BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee Chairman

JAY W. JOHNSON, Wisconsin DON YOUNG, Alaska

ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina

JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania

(ex officio) (ex officio)

(II)

می

CONTENTS

Page

21

21

Becker, Capt. Fred R., Jr., Director, Naval Affairs, Reserve Officers Associa-

tion of the United States
Cox, Joseph J., President, Chamber of Shipping of America, on behalf of

the American Waterborne Commerce Coalition

Kramek, Admiral Robert E., U.S. Coast Guard, accompanied by Master Chief

Petty Officer Eric A. Trent, and Commodore Everette L. Tucker, Jr., U.S.

Coast Guard Auxiliary

Nekvasil, Glen G., Communications Director, Lake Carriers' Association

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286

312

Page

Additional U.S. Coast Guard Questions to the Record for the March 19,

1997, Hearing on the President's Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request for the U.S. Coast Guard

554

(IV)

THE PRESIDENTS FISCAL YEAR 1999 BUDGET

REQUEST FOR THE U.S. COAST GUARD

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4, 1998

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON COAST GUARD AND MARITIME

TRANSPORTATION,
COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE,

Washington, DC. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:00 a.m., in Room 2203, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Wayne T. Gilchrest (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Mr. GILCHREST. The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Administration hearing will come to order.

I want to welcome everybody here this morning. We certainly look forward to the admiral's testimony and to Commodore Tucker, and soon-to-be Mr. Rick Trent, civilian. I guess the admiral's headed in that direction as well. But we look forward to your testimony this morning

I'm pleased to welcome everyone here to discuss the President's U.S. Coast Guard budget request for Fiscal Year 1999. The administration's budget request for Fiscal Year 1999 is $4.3 billion, an increase of about $45 million over the amount appropriated for Coast Guard activities during Fiscal Year 1998.

The President also proposed I would say a rather controversial policy to establish charges for waterways navigation, with estimated proceeds of $35 million next year. I am most concerned with the President's proposal to cut Coast Guard drug interdiction resources.

The President's Fiscal Year 1999 Coast Guard budget request is $2.77 million for Coast Guard operations, including $372 million for drug interdiction operations. This is only 1.6 percent over the Fiscal Year 1998 level of drug interdiction effort, and a cut of $100 million from the Fiscal Year 1997 level, the most successful year on record.

Last October, the House passed H.R. 2204, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1997. Our bill provided substantial additional amounts of money for drug interdiction operations and equipment. The level of drug interdiction proposed by the President is basically a severe step backward in my opinion, just when we should be mounting an aggressive campaign against rising drug usage in this country.

The borders that we are protecting are not infinite. The sources for drug transport are not infinite. We're working with a finite set of circumstances here, and collectively I believe this government

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has the intelligence to come up with a plan, whatever you want to call it a war on drugs, for adequate drug interdiction. But I truly believe that we have the intelligence to come up with a plan to virtually eliminate drug transport to the United States if we're serious about it.

Another troubling aspect of this budget request is the administration's insistence on establishing a waterways user charge. Although we have no details from the administration on this proposal, it's safe to say that there is no legal authority for the executive branch to establish a charge of this type.

The waterways user charge is a tax intended to raise revenue for the Coast Guard for unrelated programs. Now, there's nothing wrong with raising revenue for the Coast Guard; I guess it's just a matter of how it happens.

The Coast Guard already charges legitimate user fees for vessel inspection, documentation, as well as issuance of licenses and merchant mariner's documents. I hope the administration will reconsider this particular proposal.

In closing, I would simply like to say, once again, that the Coast Guard has an enormous responsibility for this country, whether it's in drug interdiction, saving lives, rescuing people on the high seas, interdicting illegal immigrants, or its far-reaching environmental area of responsibility. And so, collectively the Coast Guard has served this Nation extremely well, and as we pursue the budget request and continue the rest of this year in our hearings and markups, we'll make sure that the Coast Guard receives its due respect and receives the funding that is necessary to carry out its responsibilities.

I now yield to Mr. Clement. Mr. CLEMENT. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's great having all of you here today, and as the chairman said, I am a former college President. When I first got to Congress people would come up to me and say, “Man, you're a congressman now. That's really something." I said, “Well, that's right, but you're going to have to understand for 442 years they called me Mr. President, so I sort of got used to that.” And as the chairman knows, I'm also a veteran in the military, as well. So there's less and less members of Congress that are veterans. But I'm very proud of that fact.

But thank you, Mr. Chairman, for scheduling this hearing on the President's proposed budget for Fiscal Year 1999, the Coast Guard. The President has requested that Congress appropriate approximately $4.3 billion for Coast Guard programs for Fiscal Year 1999,

Over the last two decades, Congress has asked the Coast Guard to expand their missions and responsibility. However, I'm beginning to question how resources are prioritized when deciding which missions are most important to fund.

I'm particularly concerned about the lack of resources that are being allocated to drug interdiction activity. We should increase, not decrease, the number of aircraft and cutter hours assigned to the Caribbean and southern California coast.

I believe that the Coast Guard should consider building a few more 87-foot patrol boats, assign these new boats to the Continental United States, and permanently moving some 100-foot patrol boats down to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

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