House discussion on Amendment 48...
Amendment No. 48 Offered by Mr. Mack
The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 48
printed in House Report 112-88.
Mr. MACK. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
The text of the amendment is as follows:
At the end of title X add the following:
SEC. __. SUNKEN MILITARY CRAFT.
Section 1408(3) of the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 (10 U.S.C. 113 note)
(1) in subparagraph (A), by inserting ``, that was'' before
``on military noncommercial service''; and
(2) in subparagraph (
, by inserting a comma before ``that
was owned or operated''.
The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 276, the gentleman
from Florida (Mr. Mack) and a Member opposed each will control 5
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Florida.
Mr. MACK. Mr. Chairman, the purpose of my amendment is a mere
clarification of the Sunken Military Craft Act. The fundamental
objective of the Sunken Military Craft Act was to protect sunken United
States military vessels, aircraft and spacecraft. This technical
correction will make clear that the term ``sunken military craft'' will
only include vessels, warships, naval auxiliaries or other vessels on
military, noncommercial service at the time they were sunk.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.
The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from New Jersey is recognized for 5
Mr. ANDREWS. I thank my friend for offering the amendment.
We are inclined to oppose the amendment on the following grounds: in
2005, Congress enacted the Sunken Military Craft Act and the principal
purpose of that law was to preserve U.S. sovereignty and Department of
Defense sovereignty over sunken vessels and abandoned aircraft and the
like for strategic and economic purposes, and also to protect the
remains and property of those who may have perished on those sunken
It's my understanding that this amendment draws a distinction between
such vessels that were in noncommercial service versus commercial
service. And although I think I understand the justification for that
distinction, here is our concern with the consequence of that.
It is our understanding there is pending litigation between the
nation of Spain and a private venture over the disposition of rights to
a sunken vessel that at least at one time--I suppose the time it was
sunk--may have had some claim in the United States. I don't know if
that is the case. Our concern is that by taking statutory action here,
we may be in some way interfering with the outcome of that litigation
or the process of that litigation.
I would yield to my friend, the author of the amendment, to ask if
that is his intention.
Mr. MACK. The amendment is clearly to clarify that we are actually
talking about military craft as it is a military craft. In other words,
if it's involved in commercial activity, then it wouldn't be regarded
as military craft. So it's really to make the distinction, which is why
the act was put in place the first time, that it's not for commercial
craft--it may at one time have been--but it is for actual military
craft when they are sunk.
Mr. ANDREWS. Reclaiming my time, I think the gentleman's distinction
makes sense. We have spoken to the Navy about this, and the Navy's
objection is predicated upon its concern that there could be an impact
on the litigation that is pending that I made reference to and possibly
claims of other sovereign nations in similar situations.
So, reluctantly, we would be inclined to oppose the amendment, but
obviously be willing to discuss with the gentleman as time goes forward
ways that perhaps our concerns could be addressed. So for present
purposes, we would be in opposition to the amendment for the reasons
that I stated.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. MACK. I want to thank the gentleman for expressing his
I would tell the gentleman and this body that I think it's clear that
the understanding of this act is to protect military craft that has
sunk; but when that military craft is no longer involved in the
military but now is used for commercial activities, then it's no longer
a military craft.
So the purpose of this amendment is to clarify this distinction.
With that, Mr. Chairman, this is a good amendment. I think the intent
here is just to clarify what is military versus commercial. I hope that
I can get the support of the Members.
I yield back the balance of my time.
The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Mack).
The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes
appeared to have it.
Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Florida will be postponed.