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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
MARION BERRY, Arkansas
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)
Becker, Capt. Fred R., Jr., Director, Naval Affairs, Reserve Officers Associa-
tion of the United States
the American Waterborne Commerce Coalition
Becker, Capt. Fred R., Jr., Director, Naval Affairs, Reserve Officers Associa-
tion of the United States:
Responses to questions
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
THE PRESIDENTS FISCAL YEAR 1999 BUDGET
REQUEST FOR THE U.S. COAST GUARD
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4, 1998
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
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
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.