WASHINGTON, D.C. _ The White House has released photos of Tuesday's signing of the $10 billion Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018.
"It's quite ... I'm searching for the right word to say how it feels," said LoBiondo of walking into the Oval Office for a bill signing with a president. No single word could do it justice, he said.
LoBiondo, who is retiring after 24 years as New Jersey's Congressman in the second Congressional district, said it was only his third time in 24 years he was called to the White House for signing of one of his bills. The last time was with President George W. Bush for the singing of the Maritime Security bill of 2002, he said.
"We worked on that after September 11," said LoBiondo.
The Coast Guard bill provides more than $7 billion in operating funds and almost $3 billion in construction, repair and facilities improvement.
The bill also provides regulatory relief for fishermen, LoBiondo said, by streamlining discharge requirements for commercial fishing vessels.
President Donald J. Trump was seated at his desk for the signing, and LoBiondo was asked to stand on his left side, he said. He didn't have a chance to speak to the president privately, because of a tight schedule. The White House and Trump were heavily involved in events around the celebration of the life of the late President George H. W. Bush.
Also in attendance were other members of Congress, the Homeland Security Secretary General John F. Kelly, and Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl L. Schultz.
"I put in a plug for the Coast Guard, which has been unrecognized and underappreciated," compared to other arms of the service, said LoBiondo. "Coast Guard men and women are not on parity with quality of life issues."