[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction of Coast Guard issues, today applauded Appropriations Committee passage of legislation to provide $5 million in Fiscal Year 2017 for the National Coast Guard Museum in New London. The funding was included in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act. This appropriations funding was made possible because of language in the Coast Guard Authorization Act, which Blumenthal steered through the Commerce Committee and fought to pass in the full Senate and House with Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT). That language authorizes federal funds to support the museum.
“The federal funding approved in Committee today moves the opening of this landmark museum one, large step closer to reality,” Blumenthal said. “It is long overdue that the federal government support the work that New London has done to honor the Coast Guard’s distinguished service to our nation. As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee – the committee with jurisdiction of the Coast Guard – and as a member of the Board of Visitors of the Coast Guard Academy, I worked hard with Senator Murphy and Representative Courtney to pass legislation authorizing federal support for the museum. I can’t wait for Connecticut to welcome the world to New London when the museum opens its doors.”
The Coast Guard Authorization Act, which was signed into law in February, allows the U.S. Coast Guard to use federal funds to support the construction and installation of exhibits and displays for the National Coast Guard Museum in New London, Connecticut. Before its passage, the Coast Guard was limited in using federal funds to build the facility, and this has slowed the museum’s construction and hampered private fundraising efforts.
The Appropriations Committee today also passed a provision to prohibit the relocation of the U.S. Coast Guard Band from New London to Washington, D.C. Blumenthal has repeatedly called for the band to remain in New London. He sent a letter urging the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security to include language in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Act to keep the band in Connecticut, and sent a letter with Murphy to the Commandant of the Coast Guard opposing the transfer.
“Moving the Coast Guard Band from New London to Washington would be ill-informed and ill-advised,” Blumenthal said. “Residing in our state for nearly a century, the band is a critical cultural centerpiece of Connecticut. That is why I have fought to keep the band in Connecticut, and today’s action brings us one step closer to finally putting the proposal of this misguided move to rest.”