Washington, D.C. –– U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff is fighting for the men and women in the U.S. Coast Guard, today securing a commitment from the Homeland Security Secretary to ensure child care and affordable housing are available to Coast Guard personnel.
Sen. Ossoff noted that in previous meetings with the U.S. Coast Guard Seventh District Command and enlisted Coast Guard personnel, many raised concerns about child care and affordable housing.
Sec. Mayorkas committed to working with Sen. Ossoff and Coast Guard officials in Georgia to map out solutions to ensure all servicemembers, especially younger junior enlisted personnel, have access to child care and affordable housing.
Sec. Mayorkas also noted how the bipartisan infrastructure bill Sen. Ossoff championed will dedicate over $400 million to the Coast Guard to address quality-of-life issues, like housing and child care.
Please find a transcript of the exchange below:
SEN. OSSOFF: “My final question for you about U.S. Coast Guard. I had the pleasure of meeting with the Seventh District Command, as well as meeting with enlisted personnel, enlisted U.S. Coast Guard personnel, and hearing from them their needs their concerns. I have such immense respect for the extraordinary men and women of the United States Coast Guard, as I know you do for the work they do every day to protect the country, to prevent illegal fishing, to enforce our immigration laws, to respond to natural disasters, provide search and rescue services to Americans who need help. They are amazing people, and I commend the U.S. Coast Guard for the extraordinary work they do. I have heard from especially enlisted Coast Guard personnel about the difficulties that they’re having with affordable housing and child care. And so what I want to ask you is that someone from your team will work with mine to map out whether there are some solutions that we can find working together to ensure that Coast Guard personnel and, especially those younger, junior enlisted personnel, have access to affordable housing and to child care services. There’s a discussion we can perhaps have about the base housing allowance. I know that gets into some complex issues involving the Department of Defense as well. So not asking you for a specific policy commitment, but your engagement and your staff’s engagement in working together to address some of these quality-of-life and kitchen table pocketbook issues, for especially those young women and men who are keeping our country safe through their service and the Coast Guard.”
SEC. MAYORKAS: “Thank you so much, Senator Ossoff. Let me share with you that pursuant to the bill that President Biden signed into law yesterday — $434 million I think is the figure –– will be dedicated to the United States Coast Guard. And part of that money will be to address some of the quality-of-life issues to which you now refer: housing, child care, and the like. That is just one example why the bill that the President signed into law, and it’s a bipartisan bill that the President championed, and so many others, is such a monumental chapter in our American history.”
SEN. OSSOFF: “Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I agree with you completely. And, you know, despite the partisanship of many of these hearings, I want to again point out that that infrastructure bill, which will support airports and ports and our Coast Guard was bipartisan, showing that the political parties can rise above partisanship, put the national interest first. Thank you and thank you for your service.”