Connecticut's federal lawmakers are applauding final passage of the Coast Guard Authorization Act, including language that allows federal funding to support displays and exhibits — which would include, for example, structures inside the National Coast Guard Museum planned for downtown New London.
That support, however, would not extend to the bricks and mortar aspects of the estimated $100 million project.
"The measure passed by the House, which is now on its way to the president, today makes clear that Congress stands firmly behind this effort. I am proud to have worked closely with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to get this targeted change in federal law to ensure that the Coast Guard can provide its full support for establishing the museum," U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, said in a prepared statement.
A 2004 law prohibited the Coast Guard from using its federal funding to support the design and construction of the museum.
The bill amends the 2004 law to ensure that the Coast Guard can provide funding for "the design, fabrication, and installation of exhibits or displays in which such artifacts are included," according to a news release from U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy's, D-Conn., office.
A similar version of the act passed the House in December 2015. The bill was amended in the Senate and sent back to the House for final passage this week.
The exact amount appropriated will be worked out through budget discussions.
"When I visited with the cadets and officers in New London last week, I promised them that I would fight tooth and nail on the Appropriations Committee to make sure that the museum gets the federal support it needs — it will be an uphill fight but it will be worth it, for southeast Connecticut and the Coast Guard," Murphy, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a prepared statement.