California Congressman Duncan Hunter called upon Senators Lisa Murkowski (AK) and John Thune (SD) today for their support in defending the Jones Act.
“Any effort to diminish this longstanding law is sure to negatively impact America’s maritime industry and its significant contributions to the national economy,” Hunter said.
Requirements of the Jones Act, Congressman Hunter continued, “ensure that the United States retains a minimum core of shipbuilders and ship operators, and their skills and capabilities in the United States. Further this guarantees that we will not be held hostage to whims and dictates of foreign ship owners and operators, or foreign mariners when ships and mariners are needed to respond to disasters or support national security requirements.”
On Tuesday, Arizona Senator John McCain launched an attack against the Jones Act by filing an amendment to the Keystone XL pipeline bill that would repeal the U.S. build requirement, saying: “I have long advocated for a full repeal of The Jones Act, an antiquated law that has for too long hindered free trade, made U.S. industry less competitive and raised prices for American consumers. The amendment I am introducing again today would eliminate this unnecessary, protectionist restriction.”
McCain’s statement was quickly countered by the American Maritime Partnership, MEBA, SIU and others.
Senators Murkowski and Thune co-sponsored the bill that would allow for the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The bill cleared an initial Senate hurdle on Monday, a measure that opens the bill up for debate and the offering of amendments, such as the one introduced by McCain. A Senate vote on the amendment could come as soon as next Tuesday.
Rep. Hunter has long been one of the biggest supporters in Congress of the Jones Act and the U.S. domestic maritime and shipbuilding industries, defending the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 as a commercial and a public policy success in a recent Op-Ed co-authored with Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana and first published to The Washington Times in March 2014.
Read Congressman Hunter’s letter HERE.