Senate Committee To Vote On Bill That Would Include Funds For Coast Guard Museum
By Julia Bergman
The Day
May 24, 2016
The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to vote Thursday on an appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security that includes $5 million in funding for the National Coast Guard Museum and a provision prohibiting the relocation of the Coast Guard Band from New London.
A Senate subcommittee on Tuesday approved the $48.07 billion U.S. Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act for 2017.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., worked to secure the $5 million, which, if the bill is passed, will be the first federal investment in the estimated $100 million museum project.
Murphy was confident the Senate Appropriations Committee, of which he is a member, would pass the bill with the $5 million for the museum.
However, the funding could get stripped or reduced when the full Senate takes up the bill.
"We'll have to protect that number on the Senate floor," Murphy said.
Murphy, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, worked to change language that prevented the Coast Guard from providing any funds for the museum.
The change does not allow for Coast Guard money to go toward the bricks-and-mortar aspects of the museum, so the $5 million would go toward interior work, such as refurbishing artifacts.
The National Coast Guard Museum Association, which is raising funds for the museum, is hoping for $30 million in support from the federal government.
The state has committed $20 million for a pedestrian bridge to provide access to the museum.
The bill, if passed, also would prohibit the relocation of the Coast Guard Band.
Last September, the Coast Guard confirmed it was exploring the possibility of relocating its 55-member band, which has called New London home for more than 90 years, to the Washington, D.C., area.
"It's never made sense," Murphy said of that proposal.
Since the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act is a one-year appropriations bill, the provision is only good for one year and must be reauthorized.
But, as Murphy put it, "it's tougher to get (provisions) out than to reauthorize."