WASHINGTON (March 8, 2019) – The American Maritime Partnership, the voice of the domestic maritime industry, today released a statement in response to the introduction of the “Open America’s Waters Act of 2019” by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) which calls for a repeal of the Jones Act’s cabotage requirements – a law that serves as a backbone for the United States’ national, homeland and economic security. This legislation is virtually unchanged from previously failed bills introduced in both 2010 and 2017.
“I respect Sen. Lee, but continue to believe that this legislation would do harm to the U.S. by outsourcing hundreds of thousands of American jobs, opening our coastal borders and undermining American national and homeland security. U.S. military and Customs and Border Protection officials have consistently made clear the importance of the Jones Act to the safeguarding of our nation. We would welcome the opportunity to meet with Sen. Lee to discuss why the Jones Act remains important to America and to his home state of Utah,” said Matt Woodruff, President, American Maritime Partnership.
America’s leaders have a long history of support for the Jones Act. For example:
“Take away the Jones Act, you have taken away the majority of jobs for our U.S. mariners in peacetime, that we need in wartime. Getting rid of the Jones Act does not think through all of the ramifications it has on our war fighting ability – and to sustain the Navy and to sustain the Marine Corps. That is why our flag says in peace and war,” said RADM Mark H. Buzby, Administrator, U.S. Maritime Administration. (2018)
“I can stand before any group as a military leader and say without the contribution that the Jones Act brings to the support of our [maritime] industry there is a direct threat to national defense,” said General Paul Selva, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (2015)
“We are fortunate to have a wide variety of mechanisms like the Maritime Security Program, Jones Act, Cargo Preference, and Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement or VISA. These programs all provide operations to project power on behalf of the nation,” said Lt. Gen. John J. Broadmeadow, TRANSCOM Deputy Commander. (2018)
“The Coast Guard is responsible for the safety and stability of the marine transportation system, and [if you repeal the Jones Act] you just made our jobs a lot harder,” said Rear Admiral John P. Nadeau, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy, U.S. Coast Guard. (2018)
“The Jones Act is a very important program that secures national security…the national security of the Merchant Marine fleet of this country is part of the way that we are able to be effective overseas and protect this country. So I am a great proponent of the U.S. flag merchant Marine fleet,” said Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. (2017)
“Our national security is a layered approach …. There’s no way that we could enforce our national security laws without the Jones Act,” said Michael Hebert, Jones Act Division of Enforcement Director, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. (2017)
Bipartisan members of congress join in their support:
“Properly enforcing the Jones Act is important for economic and national security,” said Sen. Roger F. Wicker (R-MS). (2019)
“The Jones Act is vital to the security and safety of the United States,” said Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE). (2019)
“I have long been a strong advocate for the hardworking men and women in America’s maritime industry who work tirelessly to protect our waterways, and I’ll continue to fight every day to defend and uphold the Jones Act, which is vital to the national and economic security of our country,” said Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA). (2017)
“I am a very strong supporter of the Jones Act and believe it is important that we continue to have the Jones Act in the future,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA). (2018)
“Everything that we need to do that job – from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan and all points in between – has been delivered by [the the men and women of American maritime]. If we get rid of the Jones Act, the next bit of policy, the next bit of work that you will see in the United States of America will be the United States of America’s ambassador to the UN going into the UN with his thumb in the air the next time that we’re in a conflict, saying, ‘Can I hitch a ride?’ That is not the policy we need in this country, and that is one of the most important reasons the Jones Act has to stay in place. To make sure that we are doing everything to defend our maritime industry from being destroyed,” said Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL). (2019)
“The Jones Act is not a relic. The Jones Act is vibrant and the Jones Act is absolutely essential for the economic and the maritime security of this country,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR). (2018)
“The American maritime industry is strong today because of the Jones Act and what it provides. It is because of the Jones Act that we have a maritime industrial base to support our military and national security needs. That can’t be stated strongly enough,” said Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL). (2018)
“Not only does the Jones Act provides tens of thousands of jobs with all kinds of vessels being made in about every place there is water, but it has created advanced shipbuilding in the United States […]. Because of the Jones Act, American shipbuilding can and is leading in [the use of LNG] technology,” said Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA). (2018)
The Jones Act is not only a vital anchor for America’s national security strategy but a pillar of economic strength and job creation for the nation. Specifically, this law states that the transportation of merchandise between U.S. points is reserved for U.S. – built, owned, and documented vessels. For more information, please visit www.americanmaritimepartnership.com
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American Maritime Partnership (AMP) is the voice of the U.S. domestic maritime industry, a pillar of our nation‘s economic, national, and homeland security. More than 40,000 American vessels built in American shipyards, crewed by American mariners, and owned by American companies, operate in our waters 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and this commerce sustains nearly 650,000 American jobs, $41.6 billion in labor compensation, and more than $154.8 billion in annual economic output. You can learn more by visiting www.americanmaritimepartnership.com.