The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure conducted a hearing on the FY 2011 Budget for the Coast Guard, the Maritime Administration, and the Federal Maritime Commission. The Subcommittee noted that budget request for FY 2011 represented a 0.4% decrease for the Coast Guard; a 3% decrease for MARAD; and a 5.8% increase for the FMC. Committee Chair James Oberstar (D - MN) expressed great concern regarding the projected decrease in the Coast Guard’s operational capabilities mandated by the proposed budget and the fact that the budget would provide no monies for either the Assistance to Small Shipyards program or the Title XI Loan Guarantee program. Subcommittee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD) noted that the Coast Guard would lose over 1,000 military billets under the proposal. Admiral Thad Allen, Commandant, US Coast Guard, testified about how the service will accommodate the reduced funding envisioned in the budget request. Mr. David Matsuda, Acting Administrator, Maritime Administration, testified that the proposed funding level is sufficient to sustain current service levels for the full range of MARAD program operations and activities. Mr. Richard Lidinsky, Chairman, Federal Maritime Commission, explained the role of the FMC. Mr. Stephen Caldwell, Government Accountability Office, focused on the Coast Guard budget and testified that the Coast Guard is reducing funds for current assets and missions to increase funds for its top budget priority – long-term recapitalization of vessels and aircraft. This will result in a short-term decline in mission performance. (2/25/10).
(Source: Bryant’s Maritime News)