WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., introduced legislation to keep the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) open through any possible future lapse in federal appropriations.
“There is no reason Congressional brinksmanship should derail our future maritime leaders from joining the workforce. Keeping the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy’s doors open is not only a matter of national security, but also a commitment to keeping our economy strong," Wicker said.
The USMMA is one of the five federal service academies. However, because it is the only academy operated by the Department of Transportation, most of the faculty are subject to furlough in case of a lapse in government funding. Any gap in instruction could be highly disruptive to students because midshipmen must adhere to a strict academic schedule to meet the requirements to graduate with a Coast Guard Merchant Mariner license. If there is a lapse in government funding and USMMA is closed, midshipmen risk potential Coast Guard licensing issues.
Wicker and Kelly are both members of the Board of Visitors for the USMMA.
Read the full text of the legislation here.