Senator McCain Introduces New Bill to Repeal Jones Act

The Jones Act-qualified tanker MT Constitution ready for launch at the General Dynamacs NASSCO shipyard in San Diego in August 2016. Photo: General Dynamics NASSCO

Note: On Wednesday, the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix released a statement saying that tissue pathology revealed that a primary brain tumor known as a glioblastoma, an aggressive type of cancer, was associated with Senator McCain’s blood clot. The statement added that the tissue of concern was completely resected during last Friday’s procedure, and the Senator and his family are reviewing further treatment options, which may include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. The statement went on to say that “the Senator’s doctors say he is recovering from his surgery ‘amazingly well’ and his underlying health is excellent.” It is unclear how the diagnosis will impact Senator McCain’s legislation. And, on a personal note, we wish Senator McCain a full and speedy recovery. 

With all eyes on health care in recent weeks, U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has introduced his latest legislation seeking to repeal the Jones Act.

Senator McCain first introduced the legislation, known as the Open America’s Waters Act of 2017, last Thursday, one day before he underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from above his left eye at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, ArizonaThe Senator has since been recovering at this home in Arizona and is said to be in good condition as doctors await tissue pathology reports.

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, aka the Jones Act, requires that all goods shipped between ports in the United States be transported on American-built ships that are owned and operated by Americans.

Senator McCain, a U.S. Navy veteran and former POW, has been working for years to reform and repeal the Jones Act. He first introduced legislation to repeal the Jones Act in 2010 and, most recently, in January 2016, he introduced an amendment to an energy modernization bill that would have waived the U.S. build requirement for oil and gas tankers. A year earlier, Senator McCain tried to attach a similar amendment to a Keystone XL pipeline bill, again seeking to eliminate the U.S. build requirement of the Jones Act, but the bill passed without McCain’s amendment attached.

Despite tough opposition from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, McCain has vowed to eventually repeal of the  full Jones Act, describing it as “antiquated law” that hinders free trade and raises prices for American consumers.

“I have long advocated the repeal of the Jones Act, an archaic and burdensome law that hinders free trade, stifles the economy, and ultimately harms consumers,” said Senator McCain in reference to his most recent legislation. “My legislation would eliminate this regulation, freeing American shippers from the requirement that they act against their own business interests. By allowing U.S. shippers to purchase affordable foreign-made carriers, this legislation would reduce shipping costs, make American farmers and businesses more competitive in the global marketplace, and bring down the cost of goods and services for American consumers.”

“The protectionist mentality embodied by the Jones Act directly contradicts the lessons we have learned about the benefits of a free and open market. Free trade expands economic growth, creates jobs, and lowers costs for consumers. I urge my colleagues to support this bill and finally repeal the outdated and protectionist Jones Act,” Senator McCain added.

A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.