BOATING BILLS CAUGHT IN WASHINGTON GRIDLOCK
WASHINGTON, DC, December 27 - As the first session of the 105th Congress
grinds to a close, almost everything on the BOAT/U.S. (Boat Owners
Association of The United States) legislative agenda is nearing final
approval, but a year's effort could be sunk at the last minute if the
White House and Congress fail to agree on a multi-year federal budget
The legislative "fix" is in for diesel boat owners, VHF marine radio
operators, nautical chart users and everyone who pays the federal tax on
* The 24.4 cents per gallon tax on recreational diesel fuel would be
suspended from January 1, 1996 to June 30, 1997 if tax legislation passed
by the House and Senate is ultimately included in a budget compromise.
* Boaters with VHF radios could see their $75 Federal Communications
Commission "user fee" eliminated if major telecommunications legislation
awaiting final Congressional action is approved by the President.
* Nautical chart users who have suffered through years of declining chart
production can look forward to an upswing in new editions and better
quality if legislation passed by Congress is approved by the President.
* Every boater using a gasoline engine will find that more money will be
returned to the states for boating safety, education and law enforcement
if House Republicans agree with their Senate counterparts that these
"trust fund" monies should be spent for their intended purposes.
"While our final fate remains unclear, the fact of the matter is that
this Congress has been responsive to the problems facing recreational boat
owners," said BOAT/U.S. Government Affairs Director Michael Sciulla.
Most of the issues pushed by BOAT/U.S. enjoy broad bipartisan support in
Congress. "If some of our issues fail to cross the finish line, it will be
because we have been made part of larger and more controversial
legislative packages which have nothing to do with recreational boating,"