The Secretary may have remitted or cancelled any part of a person's indebtedness to the United States or any instrumentality of the United States if—
(1) the indebtedness was incurred while the person served as a member of the Coast Guard, whether as a regular or a reserve in active status; and
(2) the Secretary determines that remitting or cancelling the indebtedness is in the best interest of the United States.
(Aug. 4, 1949, ch. 393, 63 Stat. 530; Sept. 3, 1954, ch. 1263, §33(b), 68 Stat. 1238; Pub. L. 87–526, §1(1), July 10, 1962, 76 Stat. 141; Pub. L. 87–649, §14d(7), Sept. 7, 1962, as added Pub. L. 89–718, §73(a)(3), Nov. 2, 1966, 80 Stat. 1124; Pub. L. 89–718, §73(c)(1), Nov. 2, 1966, 80 Stat. 1124; Pub. L. 90–83, §2, Sept. 11, 1967, 81 Stat. 220; Pub. L. 94–546, §1(29), Oct. 18, 1976, 90 Stat. 2521; Pub. L. 114–120, title II, §203(a), Feb. 8, 2016, 130 Stat. 34; Pub. L. 114–328, div. A, title VI, §671(b)(4), Dec. 23, 2016, 130 Stat. 2173.)
Based on title 14, U.S.C., 1946 ed., §§20a, 121 (May 18, 1920, ch. 190, §8, 41 Stat. 603; June 10, 1922, ch. 212, 42 Stat. 625; July 3, 1926, ch. 742, §10, 44 Stat. 817).
Said section 121 was omitted from the 1940 and 1946 editions of the U.S. Code, but it has been held that the assimilation provision thereof is inoperative only insofar as Congress has made specific legislative provision for the Coast Guard, and that benefits derived from legislation pertaining to the Navy previously conferred upon the Coast Guard, and not provided for in subsequent legislation, survive to the Coast Guard under the assimilation statute. (See 27 Comp. Dec. 234; 22 Comp. Gen. 723; decision of June 9, 1947, B–63472; decision of April 2, 1948, B–70438; and decision of September 2, 1948, B–77295.)
It seems desirable to retain this assimilation provision as to pay in order to cover any failure to provide specifically for the Coast Guard in military pay legislation.
This section assimilates the pay of military personnel of the Coast Guard to the pay of military personnel of the Navy. It seems that this is the most feasible method of insuring that the pay of military personnel of the Coast Guard will not vary from the pay of military personnel of the other armed forces. The assimilation is intended to include authorization for extra pay and allowances as provided for personnel of the Navy, for all types of special duty: for example, qualified divers on diving duty, military personnel assigned to submarine duty, military personnel assigned to aviation duty, officers assigned as aides to flag officers, and enlisted persons assigned to duty in the mess detail. Military pay acts are intended to include Coast Guard personnel specifically; this section would cover any failure to so provide for Coast Guard personnel in a pay act.
Changes were made in phraseology. 81st Congress, House Report No. 557.
2016—Pub. L. 114–120 amended section generally. Prior to amendment, text read as follows: "If he considers it in the best interest of the United States, the Secretary may have remitted or canceled any part of an enlisted member's indebtedness to the United States or any of its instrumentalities remaining unpaid before or at the time of, that member's honorable discharge."
Par. (1). Pub. L. 114–328 substituted "as a member of the Coast Guard, whether as a regular or a reserve in active status" for "on active duty as a member of the Coast Guard".
1976—Pub. L. 94–546 substituted "Secretary" for "Secretary of the Treasury".
1967—Pub. L. 90–83 corrected section 73(a)(3) of Pub. L. 89–718 to change the designation of sections repealed under Pub. L. 87–649 from sections 471(a) and (b) of Title 14 to sections 461(a) and (b) of Title 14. See 1966 Amendment note below.
1966—Pub. L. 89–718, §73(a)(3), amended section 14d of Pub. L. 87–649, which contained in cls. (1) to (6) list of sections of Title 14 repealed by Pub. L. 87–649, by inserting "(7) Section 471(a) and (b)." However, for purposes of codification, the repeal has been executed to former subsecs. (a) and (b) of this section, which provided respectively for the awarding of the same pay and allowances as prescribed for corresponding ranks, grades, or ratings for personnel of the Navy and for the withholding of pay of officers on account of indebtedness to the United States, since this appears to have been the intent of Congress.
Pub. L. 89–718, §73(c)(1), struck out references to pay and allowances and pay of officers indebted to the United States from section catchline and struck out letter designation "(c)" from beginning of former subsec. (c), leaving text of former subsec. (c) as constituting entire text of section.
1962—Pub. L. 87–526, §1(1)(A), amended section catchline to provide for remission of indebtedness of enlisted members.
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 87–526, §1(1)(B), added subsec. (c).
1954—Act Sept. 3, 1954 inserted "; pay of officers indebted to United States" in section catchline, designated existing provisions as subsec. (a), and added subsec. (b).
Amendment by Pub. L. 114–328 effective Dec. 23, 2016, and applicable with respect to debt incurred on or after Oct. 7, 2001, see section 671(b)(5) of Pub. L. 114–328, set out as a note under section 4837 of Title 10, Armed Forces.
Pub. L. 90–83, §9(i), Sept. 11, 1967, 81 Stat. 222, provided that: "Section 2 of this Act [correcting section 73(a)(3) of Pub. L. 89–718] is effective as of November 2, 1966, for all purposes."