U.S. Congressman Garamendi Makes Case for Revitalizing Nation’s Shipbuilding Industry

U.S. Congressman
U.S. Congressman John Garamendia speaks at the Bay Coalition’s 2015 Decision Makers Conference, April 9, 2015. Photo: Congressman Garamendi’s Office

On Thursday, U.S. Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, was in Oakland, California to speak at the Bay Planning Coalition’s 2015 Decision Makers Conference, arguing the need to revive the nation’s shipbuilding industry.

Garamendi’s speech focused on America’s opportunity to create thousands of American jobs by revitalizing America’s shipbuilding industry and preserving the Jones Act and U.S. Merchant Marine.

“We’re not building big ships in the United States except for the U.S. Navy. These are strategic national assets,” Congressman Garamendi said.

“What if we recognized that the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG), when and where deemed appropriate, provides us with a unique opportunity to rebuild the American shipbuilding industry and strengthen our Merchant Marine,” Garamendi said. “When we export LNG, we need to make sure that the export of this natural asset is being conducted by American sailors on American ships. In doing so, we will revitalize America’s shipbuilding industry in a big way.”

“We have an opportunity to make sure that a very significant part of the American economy has an opportunity to blossom and grow – not just the shipyards – but the entire supply chain: electronics, engines, and more,” he added. “Can it be done? Well, it turns out that a lot of shipyards are represented by my Republican friends.”

Garamendi also argued that we need to ensure that harbor maintenance funds are not siphoned off to projects unrelated to improving America’s harbors, a practice that disproportionately harms California.

“Harbor maintenance fund money should be used for what is one of the principal economic opportunities this nation possesses: our ports,” he said.

“We’re going to build in America and Make It In America one ship, two ships, one hundred ships at a time,” Garamendi concluded. “What I need from all of you is your interest and support in building the American shipbuilding industry. If any of you would like to join me in this effort, let me know.”

The Make it in America Challenge is a U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) initiative that seeks to encourage foreign and domestic businesses to build and/or expand their operations in the United States.

Recognizing the highly complicated issue of spurring growth within the maritime and shipbuilding sector, gCaptain has reached out to Congressman Garamendi’s office for further detail on his specific, actionable ideas.