Prior to the Fourth of July recess, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two spending measures called “minibuses” – legislative packages that contain multiple appropriations bills – which include several recreational boating industry priorities. Both bills provide funding for programs outlined in NMMA’s appropriation request, helping to promote and protect boating access, American manufacturing jobs, and local economies that depend on the recreational boating industry.
The spending packages included funding for the departments of Interior and Commerce (H.R. 3055) as well as the Department of Labor and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (H.R. 2740). Securing these appropriations has been a top NMMA advocacy priority, and the association applauded the House for working to approve these critical funding measures. Brief summaries of the specific provisions are below.
Given the legislative gridlock that often grips both chambers of Congress, the annual appropriations process consistently remains one of the few legislative vehicles that crosses the finish line in Congress and a prime opportunity to improve programs that are important to marine manufacturers and the entire recreational boating community.
NMMA will continue to monitor the appropriations process as it unfolds on Capitol Hill and advocate for the industry’s priorities with lawmakers and key staff. For more information, please contact NMMA senior vice president of government and legal affairs, Nicole Vasilaros at firstname.lastname@example.org or NMMA director of federal government relations, Clay Crabtree at email@example.com.
Department of Commerce
The bill would provide $1.5 million for the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account, which would continue the department’s analysis of the impact that outdoor recreation has on the U.S. economy. Additionally, the bill provides $69.5 million for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, including $14 million for NOAA’s efforts to improve and enhance recreational anglers’ and boaters’ experiences in National Marine Sanctuaries.
Department of Interior
The bill would provide $305 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) – which would be a $5 million increase above the current level. GLRI is a critical program that works to protect and restore the Great Lakes through the prevention of aquatic invasive species, harmful algal blooms, and habitat restoration.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
The bill provides robust funding for many of the U.S. Army Corps’ projects that are critically important to recreational boaters, such as $73.8 million for navigation maintenance; $60 million for inland waterway modernization; and $90 million for projects at small or subsistence harbors. These critical programs help improve the navigation on and access to the nation’s public waterways. Additionally, the bill directs the U.S. Army Corps to study alternative solutions for disposal of dredged materials that can provide economic and environmental benefits.
Department of Labor
The bill would allocate $13.3 billion for the Labor Department, including $10.6 billion for the Employment Training Administration (ETA). The ETA provides workforce assistance through grants, apprenticeship programs, and other job training initiatives. The bill includes $250 million for apprenticeship programs—a 56 percent increase above current levels—and $3 billion for workforce training grants.