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Sens. Cruz, Cantwell Introduce Military to Mariners Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Commerce Committee, and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D- Wisconsin), and Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) today introduced and passed, as an amendment to the U.S. Coast Guard Authorization Act, in the Senate Commerce Committee a bill to reduce the burdens faced by members of the U.S. Armed Forces and veterans seeking to transition to careers as Merchant Mariners.

About the bill, Sen. Cruz said:

“Military to Mariners is a bipartisan win-win for our nation’s veterans, active service members and our maritime industry. This clears the path for some of our nation’s best to step into high demand, well-paying jobs as Merchant Mariners without being burdened by red tape. The men and women of our Armed Forces have the experience required for an industry that’s critical to our supply chain and our economy – ensuring American families have access to the goods they need. I’m incredibly proud to lead this fight for those who have served our country.”

Sen. Cantwell said:

“Veterans bring valuable skills to the workforce and the Military to Mariner program helps members of the armed forces gain the tools they need to find their next career opportunity within the maritime industry. The American maritime industry supports nearly 650,000 workers and I’m proud to sponsor this bill so we can provide additional skills, training and support so that more veterans can successfully transition to good jobs supporting our maritime supply chain.”

Read the bill here.

This bill will require the U.S. Coast Guard to:

  • Review all current procedures for issuing credentials for applicants who are veterans and members of the Uniformed Services seeking to become Merchant Mariners.
  •  Implement a fully internet-based application process within two years.
  •  Issue new regulations within two years to streamline the credentialing process to reduce red tape, including taking a higher percentage of military sea service time into account for credentialing purposes, taking recommendations from the National Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (NMERPAC).
  • Add flexibility to requirements to be a credentialing instructor.
  • Require an update to the “Supporting the Transition of Active Duty Servicemembers and Military Veterans into the Merchant Marine” report to provide Congress and other agencies the status of implementation of this and previous years’ efforts.
  •  And require the U.S. Coast Guard to assess using the Department of Defense’s SkillBridge program for helping active duty service personnel become Merchant Mariners.

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