By a vote of 426-0, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2722, the Integrated Deepwater Reform Act, authored by Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. The legislation will strengthen the management of the Coast Guard's Deepwater procurement program
, which has been marred by failures in contractor performance and Coast Guard management. Congressman Cummings released the following statement:
"I am pleased that my colleagues joined me with such overwhelming support in passing this bill. H.R. 2722 offers the necessary steps to address the disappointing outcomes from procurements we have witnessed from the Deepwater program up to this point. When we are dealing with the tools used to protect our citizens and our ports-not to mention billions of taxpayer dollars-the errors we have witnessed thus far are unacceptable and simply cannot be repeated.
"Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen has already put in place important corrective actions to address the problems with certain procurements under the Deepwater program. This legislation would build on these actions by putting in place a comprehensive package of reforms to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Coast Guard to manage Deepwater as well as all future procurements.
"The men and women of the Coast Guard will rely on the assets procured under Deepwater for decades to come. This is a procurement effort that simply must be managed correctly. It is my hope that H.R. 2722 will set in place the foundation necessary to allow the Coast Guard to rescue Deepwater as effectively as it managed the truly amazing rescues of the victims of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast.
"In passing this measure today, the House of Representatives has demonstrated its commitment to our Coast Guard and to the vital missions it performs in defense of our homeland, to aid those in distress at sea, and to protect our natural resources."