House Members Rally Against Senator McCain’s Jones Act Amendment

Jones Act ships under construction at the Aker Philadelphia Shipyard. File Photo.
Jones Act ships under construction at the Aker Philadelphia Shipyard. File Photo.

In the latest show of support for the Jones Act, 32 bipartisan Representatives have sent a letter to Senate leadership urging them to reject a “misguided” amendment piggybacked onto a Keystone XL Pipeline bill by Senator John McCain that would repeal the U.S. build requirement of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920.

The letter, which was addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, expressed “serious concern” with amendment #2 submitted by Senator McCain as part of the debate on the Keystone XL Pipeline Act (S.1), saying that the amendment would have a harmful effect on the U.S. economy and national security. The letter continued:

“Shipbuilders are vital to America’s national and economic security because they build, repair, maintain and modernize the largest and most sophisticated Navy and Coast Guard in the world as well as America’s fleet of approximately 40,000 commercial vessels. According to a recent study by the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration, America’s shipbuilding industry supports more than 400,000 jobs in all 50 states, which boost our economy by almost $60 billion every year. Each direct job in the shipbuilding and repairing industry leads to another 2.7 jobs nationally, and each dollar of direct labor income leads to another $2.03 in labor income in other parts of the economy.

“This amendment, which is unrelated to the underlying matter under debate and has no consideration by any of the committees of jurisdiction in the House or Senate, would have a detrimental effect at a time when our domestic commercial shipbuilding sector is seeing a surge in new vessel construction. We urge the rejection of this misguided proposal, and look forward to working with you to continue to grow a robust and vibrant domestic shipbuilding industry.”

As gCaptain reported previously, Arizona Senator John McCain last week launched this latest attack on the Jones Act after the Keystone XL Pipeline bill passed an initial hurdle in the senate, saying that the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly referred to as the Jones Act, is an “antiquated law” that has “hindered free trade, made U.S. industry less competitive and raised prices for American consumers.”

Senator McCain’s amendment was quickly met with backlash from Jones Act supporters, ranging from the American Maritime Partnership, MEBA, SIU and the U.S. Navy league, to California Congressman Duncan Hunter, who has long been one of the Jones Act’s biggest advocates in Congress.

The letter to Senator McConnell and Senator Reid was signed by 32 bipartisan Representatives, all of whom are listed below. The full letter can be found HERE.

Update:┬áSenators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) have now also made their┬ávoices heard in support of the Jones Act, issuing a statement Wednesday saying that Senator McCain’s amendment could endanger U.S. shipbuilding jobs and outsource work by done by American workers to foreign countries.

“This amendment could have a serious impact on jobs and economic growth across Pennsylvania from Erie to Philadelphia,” Senator Casey said. “We should be voting on amendments that create more jobs for American workers instead of putting them at risk. The Jones Act protects American jobs and helps ensure the safety of our ports. Repealing the Jones Act would be a mistake.”

“Wisconsin is home to one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the nation, including a strong shipbuilding industry,” Senator Baldwin said. “Repealing the Jones Act would not only negatively impact the thousands of hardworking Wisconsinites this industry employs, but it would also stifle our collective efforts to support a Made in America economy.”

Member, State, Party

  • Courtney, CT, D
  • Palazzo, MS, R
  • Garamendi, CA, D
  • Hunter, CA, R
  • LoBiondo, NJ, R
  • Takai, HI, D
  • Esty, CT, D
  • Lipinski, IL, D
  • Byrne, AL, R
  • Lowenthal, CA, D
  • Kilmer, WA, D
  • DesJarlais, TN, R
  • Cummings, MD, D
  • Gabbard, HI, D
  • Pingree, ME D
  • Brownley, CA, D
  • Nugent, Fl, R
  • Wittman, VA, R
  • Rigell, VA, R
  • Poe, TX, R
  • Duncan, TN, R
  • King, NY, R
  • Fincher, TN, R
  • Peters, CA, D
  • Boustany, LA, R
  • Langevin, RI, D
  • Forbes, VA, R
  • Smith, MO, R
  • Israel, NY, D
  • Cicillene, RI, D
  • Lynch, MA, D
  • Larsen, WA, D

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