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Mr. KEITH. There would be less attrition in the first 3 or 4 years than would otherwise be the case.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Those were the second bells for the quorum, and accordingly, the committee will stand adjourned to 10 o'clock tomorrow morning, October 22, and the witnesses will be Hon. Lester Wolff of New York, Dr. A. Sanford Limouze, Rear Adm. E. A. Rodgers of the Maine Maritime Academy and Capt. W. N. Hammick, Director of the Great Lakes Maritime Academy.
(Whereupon, at 11:33 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned to reconvene at 10 a.m., Wednesday, October 22, 1969.)
MARITIME ACADEMY ACT AMENDMENTS
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 22, 1969
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SPECIAL SUBCOMMITTEE ON
MARITIME EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 10:15 a.m., pursuant to recess, in room 1334, Longworth House Office Building, Hon. Thomas N. Downing, chairman of the subcommittee, presiding.
Mr. DOWNING. The committee will come to order.
This morning the committee will resume hearings on the bills H.R 8785, introduced by Mr. Hathaway, and H.R. 8328, introduced by Mr. Keith and others, regarding the maritime education and training program.
I would like to say that I regret that I was not here for the opening of the committee hearings yesterday due to an extremely important commitment in Virginia.
I do want to thank Congressman Murphy for chairing the committee yesterday. I regret that I did not hear the witnesses personally, but I am reading their testimony.
Our first witness this morning is our colleague from New York, our good friend, the Hon. Lester L. Wolff.
STATEMENT OF HON. LESTER L. WOLFF, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. WOLFF. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First I would like to take this opportunity to extend my appreciation to you and the distinguished committee for the chance to express my views on this important bill which can mean so much to our Nation's merchant marine.
Our maritime academies are a time honored and highly worthwhile group of institutions which have assured us that the excellence synonomous with the U.S. merchant marine will be maintained in years to come.
With the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, in the Third Congressional District of New York, which I represent, I have a particular interest in H.R. 8328, which would amend the Maritime Academy Act of 1958.
As we are all too well aware, rising prices and costs have left their toll on all institutions like the maritime academies. For the merchant marine cadet, the Federal subsidy he receives for attending the Academy is particularly important. He pursues a 12-month course of academics, thus precluding his chances of supplementing the $600 a year subsidy through summer employment. Hence, he must meet his ex
penses on a subsidy which has not increased to meet increased cost-ofÎiving expenses since 1958.
At the same time, present Merchant Marine Academy laws have affected the institutions themselves. Since there is not an obligation which would require students to repay funds should they not sail for a stated period of time as a U.S. merchant marine officer, the State academies are left with a considerable fiscal liability. This coupled with inadequate subsidies for dedicated students leaves the academies with a precarious future.
Passage of H.R. 8328, with one important change which I shall explain later in my testimony, Mr. Chairman, would insure a brighter future for our Nation's merchant marine. It would rectify the two principle shortcomings of the current law: failure to provide realistic subsidies for students and failure to insure the institutions against fiscal liability resulting from students who do not meet the academies' obligations of service.
As you know, this bill would increase student funds to a realistic level of $1,000 per year. Moreover, by treating this subsidy in a manner similar to that of a loan, students would be required to repay funds should they fail to sail as officers.
This later point has raised some criticism, but I do not feel that the alarm is justifiable. I see no damage in requiring repayment of funds if an obligation is not met. They very fact that students have chosen to attend a specialized and well-directed academy such as a State maritime academy, should mean that they have every intention of serving in the U.S. Merchant Marine. For if their interests are focused on a different vocation, they almost certainly would not have chosen such a specialized school.
I am aware that detractors have argued that this bill would preclude attendance of students who would broaden the educational scope of academies. This Mr. Chairman is perhaps well-intentioned criticism, but it is also a confusion of purposes.
Mr. Chairman, our State maritime academies have contributed greatly to the history of American excellence and skill on the seas. Yet, we may lose this excellence if we fail to recognize that the Merchant Marine Act of 1958 no longer can contend with the needs of today and the coming decade.
I fully believe that should reform be initiated, the dividends that all Americans will receive from the continuation of the merchant marine will more than adequately demonstrate that Congress has undertaken a very wise investment.
Earlier in my statement, I endorsed the passage of this bill, H.R. 8328, with one change that I feel is of utmost importance. That change is the deletion of section 3, which states section 216 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 (46 U.S.C. 1126), is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:
(g) funds paid by or an account of a midshipman at the United States Merchant Marine Academy shall be deemed to constitute a repayable advance to such midshipman and such funds shall be deemed to have been paid at the rate of $1,000 per academic year. The provisions of subsection (b) of section 6 of the Maritime Academy Act of 1958 shall be applicable to repayable advances referred to in this subsection to the same extent as such subsection (b) applies to repay. able advances made under section 6.
I believe that this committee must delete section 3 of H.R. 8328, or it will be linking the National Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point inextricably, although inadvertently, with the State academies in the administration of programs. Adm. Gordon McLintock, the outstanding teacher, sailor, and Superintendent of the National Academy, shares my feeling that this unique school should continue to be treated as a separate entity, and although he hails the aims of this bill, he believes it would be a serious error to include the National Academy in this way. I do not believe that this is the intent of this distinguished committee to include the Kings Point facility in this “side-door” fashion either.
In addition, the admiral points out, quite appropriately, I believe, that the provision for repayment of amounts paid for studies by officers who do not serve in the merchant marine or Armed Forces has not been a matter of concern to this great institution inasmuch as their graduates have been serving our merchant fleet with distinction in peace and in war with no thought of repayment for unserved time.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the committee for this opportunity to testify on behalf of reform of the Merchant Marine Academy Act of 1958, and in support of H.R. 8328, with the deletion of section 3 as outlined in my foregoing comments.
Mr. Downing. Thank you Congressman; that was an excellent statement.
I notice another of our colleagues, the gentleman from the State of Texas, the Honorable Jack Brooks.
STATEMENT OF HON. JACK BROOKS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CON
GRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Mr. BROOKS. Thank you very much, Mr. Downing.
The State of Texas has within its boundaries three of the Nation's 10 largest ports and the only maritime academy in the South and on our great gulf coast. As a Member of Congress from the Ninth Congressional District of Texas, I represent one of the greatest maritime districts in the world. Together the ports of the Ninth Congressional District- Beaumont, Galveston, Port Arthur, and Texas City-receive and ship more goods in domestic and international trade than any other single congressional district in the United States.
The strength of our Nation's merchant marine is a matter of vital concern to the people of my district. We recognize the tremendous impact international trade has on the economic strength of our country. Today, more than at any other time in the history of our national development, merchant shipping in international commerce is directly related to our efforts to achieve a higher standard of living and a more abundant life.
Considered from a worldwide perspective, international trade exceeds $200 billion each year- America's share of this total exceeds $60 billion, and informed authorities tell us of a possible 300 percent increase in total U.S. foreign commerce in the next decade.
The men who graduate from our Merchant Marine Academies will serve as the officers who guide and control this vast commerce. Our merchant marine is thus an economic instrument for the extension of this Nation's international influence—and the passage of H.R. 8328,