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Senator John McCain Pushes to Repeal the Jones Act

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  • Pacific Merchant Marine Council
    http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/senator-john-mccain-pushes-repeal-jones-act Senator John McCain Pushes to Repeal the Jones Act Friday, June 25th,
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 25, 2010
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      Senator John McCain Pushes to Repeal the Jones Act

      Friday, June 25th, 2010

      The Senator Introduces Open America's Water Act

      “Today I am pleased to introduce legislation that would fully repeal the Jones Act, a 1920s law that hinders free trade and favors labor unions over consumers. Specifically, the Jones Act requires that all goods shipped between waterborne ports of the United States be carried by vessels built in the United States and owned and operated by Americans. This restriction only serves to raise shipping costs, thereby making U.S. farmers less competitive and increasing costs for American consumers.

      “This was highlighted by a 1999 U.S. International Trade Commission economic study, which suggested that a repeal of the Jones Act would lower shipping costs by approximately 22 percent. Also, a 2002 economic study from the same Commission found that repealing the Jones Act would have an annual positive welfare effect of $656 million on the overall U.S. economy. Since these studies are the most recent statistics available, imagine the impact a repeal of the Jones Act would have today: far more than a $656 million annual positive welfare impact – maybe closer to $1 billion. These statistics demonstrate that a repeal of the Jones Act could prove to be a true stimulus to our economy in the midst of such difficult economic times.

      “The Jones Act also adds a real, direct cost to consumers – particularly consumers in Hawaii and Alaska. A 1988 GAO report found that the Jones Act was costing Alaskan families between $1,921 and $4,821 annually for increased prices paid on goods shipped from the mainland. In 1997, a Hawaii government official asserted that ‘Hawaii residents pay an additional $1 billion per year in higher prices because of the Jones Act. This amounts to approximately $3,000 for every household in Hawaii.’”

      “This antiquated and protectionist law has been predominantly featured in the news as of late due to the Gulf Coast oil spill. Within a week of the explosion, 13 countries, including several European nations, offered assistance from vessels and crews with experience in removing oil spill debris, and as of June 21st, the State Department has acknowledged that overall ‘it has had 21 aid offers from 17 countries.’ However, due to the Jones Act, these vessels are not permitted in U.S. waters.

      “The Administration has the ability to grant a waiver of the Jones Act to any vessel – just as the previous Administration did during Hurricane Katrina – to allow the international community to assist in recovery efforts. Unfortunately, this Administration has not done so.

      “Therefore, some Senators have put forward legislation to waive the Jones Act during emergency situations, and I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation. However, the best course of action is to permanently repeal the Jones Act in order to boost the economy, saving consumers hundreds of millions of dollars. I hope my colleagues will join me in this effort to repeal this unnecessary, antiquated legislation in order to spur job creation and promote free trade.”

      Bill: http://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=244846c7-d436-4704-87fb-ccff411ebae7


      More on the subject:

      http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/jones-act-not-hindering-gom-clean-efforts

      Jones Act Not Hindering GOM Clean-up Efforts

      Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

      There has been “no case” where the federal government has refused use of foreign vessels in the Gulf oil spill clean-up because of the Jones Act, according to a statement released by the National Incident Command (NIC).

      Some have criticized the Jones Act, which requires the use of American vessels for transportation in domestic commerce, for hindering the Gulf clean-up. Not true, said the NIC and the Coast Guard.

      "In no case has the Federal On Scene Coordinator (FOSC) or Unified Area Command declined to request assistance or accept offers of assistance of foreign vessels that meet an operational need because the Jones Act was implicated,” said a June 17 NIC Fact Sheet (attached).

      The NIC Fact Sheet noted that foreign vessels from many nations are already working in the Gulf. The Jones Act only applies within three miles of shore. Therefore, foreign skimmers, along with American skimmers, are already at work beyond three miles. The Deepwater Horizon spill is occurring 50 miles from shore, and the vast majority of oil is beyond 3 miles.

      In addition, the Coast Guard’s FOSC last week issued a determination allowing the deployment of foreign skimmers within 3 miles because of the need for unprecedented numbers of skimmers. Many American skimming vessels are already skimming in the Gulf and many more are standing by available but unused so far.

      Federal law always permits waivers of the Jones Act to allow foreign vessels when no American vessel is available. The NIC has instituted streamlined procedures to ensure that such waiver requests are considered quickly during the Gulf crisis. However, “To date, no waivers of the Jones Act … has been required because none of the foreign vessels currently operating as part of the … response has required such a waiver,” the NIC said on June 17.

      The Maritime Cabotage Task Force (MCTF), a national coalition of the American shipping and shipyard industry*, called the criticisms of the Jones Act “unfounded.”

      The MCTF said, “The American shipping industry cares deeply about the Gulf and has launched an all-hands-on-deck effort to help with the Gulf clean-up and more American vessels are standing by, eager to help. The Jones Act is no impediment to the clean-up for all the reasons outlined by the NIC and has not been an impediment to the use of foreign skimmers and other foreign vessels in the Gulf.”

      * Both the Navy League and the Pacific Merchant Marine Council are members of the Maritime Cabotage Task Force.


      MEMBER CENTER:
      Sen. John McCain introduced legislation to fully repeal the Jones Act, which he said is preventing non-U.S.-flag vessels from helping clean up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
      Journal of Commerce Online, Fri Jun 25 14:06:36 PDT 2010 • Found on Yahoo! News
      Opinion: Is The Jones Act Lost at Sea?
      Mclatchy-Tribune News Service. Who would have thought the Gulf oil spill would make a 90-year-old law newsworthy?
      Rigzone, Fri Jun 25 06:52:37 PDT 2010 • Found on Yahoo! News
      Boyd fighting to suspend Jones act
      Washington Despite the fact that residents along the oil-soaked Gulf Coast face the worst environmental disaster in American history, a measure called the Jones Act still prevents internat...
      WJHG Panama City, Thu Jun 24 07:38:25 PDT 2010 • Found on Yahoo! News
      MEMBER CENTER:
      The chief executive of Overseas Shipholding Group, the largest U.S.-flag tanker operator, said U.S. carriers won't object to allowing foreign companies to provide equipment needed to clean ...
      Journal of Commerce Online, Thu Jun 24 10:36:56 PDT 2010 • Found on Yahoo! News
    • usaseapower
      June 28, 2010 http://www.mctf.com/2010%200628%20S3525.pdf Statement of Maritime Cabotage Task Force Opposing S. 3525, Legislation to Repeal Jones Act
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 29, 2010
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        June 28, 2010

        http://www.mctf.com/2010%200628%20S3525.pdf

        Statement of Maritime Cabotage Task Force Opposing S. 3525, Legislation to Repeal Jones Act

        Washington, D.C – We oppose this legislation. All the McCain bill would do is put more Americans out of work.
        The McCain bill proposes to eliminate the very American industry that is helping to clean up the spill - an industry that supports 500,000 U.S. jobs - and outsource that work to foreign workers and foreign companies registered in nations like Liberia and the Marshall Islands that operate outside of American law. Using a spill caused by foreign companies as a pretext to bring in more foreign companies is a backward approach. It makes as much sense as replacing the American workers currently cleaning up the Gulf beaches with foreign companies and foreign workers.
        The McCain legislation is based on the completely false claim that the Jones Act is hindering the Gulf clean-up effort. The Coast Guard and National Incident Command have unambiguously rejected that idea. They should know the truth better than anyone. While there is a critical shortage of supplies like skimmers and boom, scores of large American vessels are standing by in the Gulf ready to deploy these supplies and equipment as they become available. Specialized foreign oil spill response vessels are welcome and already working -- they either do not need a Jones Act waiver, or can get one without delay.
        Finally, the McCain bill is based on studies that are outdated and widely discredited. Long ago, the U.S. Government Accountability Office in response to a request from Senator McCain reviewed those same studies and advised the Senator that they failed to accurately assess the costs and benefits of the Jones Act.
        ***
        Maritime Cabotage Task Force (www.mctf.com) was founded in 1995 to promote the U.S.-flag fleet engaged in domestic waterborne commerce. With more than 400 members, MCTF is the largest coalition ever assembled to represent the domestic segment of the U.S. merchant marine. Nationwide, there are more than 39,000 vessels engaged in Jones Act commerce and they annually move more than 1 billion tons of cargo and 100 million passengers. The Jones Act annually generates more than $100 billion in total economic output, adds $46 billion to the value of U.S. economic output, provides $29 billion in wages for nearly 500,000 workers, and contributes $11 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. The Act has been broadly supported by every Congress and Administration since its passage in 1920 and is considered a key element in the nation's national defense capabilities.
        For more information, contact Mark Ruge at (202) 494-2256.
        1601 K Street NW ♦ Washington, DC 20006
        Phone 202-661-3740 ♦ Fax 202-778-9100 ♦ www.mctf.com

        Also see: http://www.marinelink.com/news/opposes-repeal-force334723.aspx
        _________________________________

        --- In PMMC-NLUS@yahoogroups.com, "Pacific Merchant Marine Council" <pmmc@...> wrote:

        http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/senator-john-mccain-pushes-repeal-jones-act

        Senator John McCain Pushes to Repeal the Jones Act
        Friday, June 25th, 2010
        The Senator Introduces Open America's Water Act...
      • Sam Sause
        Suggest everyone cut and paste, edit if you feel the need to add or delete - I totally agree that this legislation is totally without merit and will certainly
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 29, 2010
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          I totally agree that this legislation is totally without merit and will certainly do more harm than good.  I am horrified at the infiltration of the US Domestic waterborne traffic that that could be lost to other countries.  This cannot be allowed to happen. 

           

          As an appeasement I would suggest a serious consideration of a carefully worded exemption for cruise lines that could well  benefit certain areas of the country by having them (cruise ships) haul good paying customers / consumers to their cities.  This exemption would need to be written with due consideration any negative impacts on the US economy.  e.g. – As I understand it a cruise ship cannot now stop to load or discharge  passengers between two contiguous ports.  Why not allow a foreign cruise ship to sail from San Francisco stop at Seattle for passengers to get off and spend some of their vacation dollars in Seattle instead of taking all their $$$ to Canada.

           

          It is worth considering I think – but a blanket repeal cannot tolerated and I have to believe that this proposed bill will never pass.  I will read the bill (which I have not done yet) to see if I can spot any possible benefit to the US Economy and Maritime Industry and at least try to understand McCain’s reasoning.  Maybe he is just becoming a befuddled old man and not thinking clearly.

           

          Sam Sause, SR VP

          NLUS PMMC

          Tel: 510-865-0993

          Fax: 510-865-2258

           

          From: PMMC-NLUS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:PMMC-NLUS@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of usaseapower
          Sent: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 9:41 AM
          To: PMMC-NLUS@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [PMMC-NLUS] Re: Senator John McCain Pushes to Repeal the Jones Act

           

           


          June 28, 2010

          http://www.mctf.com/2010%200628%20S3525.pdf

          Statement of Maritime Cabotage Task Force Opposing S. 3525, Legislation to Repeal Jones Act

          Washington, D.C – We oppose this legislation. All the McCain bill would do is put more Americans out of work.
          The McCain bill proposes to eliminate the very American industry that is helping to clean up the spill - an industry that supports 500,000 U.S. jobs - and outsource that work to foreign workers and foreign companies registered in nations like Liberia and the Marshall Islands that operate outside of American law. Using a spill caused by foreign companies as a pretext to bring in more foreign companies is a backward approach. It makes as much sense as replacing the American workers currently cleaning up the Gulf beaches with foreign companies and foreign workers.
          The McCain legislation is based on the completely false claim that the Jones Act is hindering the Gulf clean-up effort. The Coast Guard and National Incident Command have unambiguously rejected that idea. They should know the truth better than anyone. While there is a critical shortage of supplies like skimmers and boom, scores of large American vessels are standing by in the Gulf ready to deploy these supplies and equipment as they become available. Specialized foreign oil spill response vessels are welcome and already working -- they either do not need a Jones Act waiver, or can get one without delay.
          Finally, the McCain bill is based on studies that are outdated and widely discredited. Long ago, the U.S. Government Accountability Office in response to a request from Senator McCain reviewed those same studies and advised the Senator that they failed to accurately assess the costs and benefits of the Jones Act.
          ***
          Maritime Cabotage Task Force (www.mctf.com) was founded in 1995 to promote the U.S.-flag fleet engaged in domestic waterborne commerce. With more than 400 members, MCTF is the largest coalition ever assembled to represent the domestic segment of the U.S. merchant marine. Nationwide, there are more than 39,000 vessels engaged in Jones Act commerce and they annually move more than 1 billion tons of cargo and 100 million passengers. The Jones Act annually generates more than $100 billion in total economic output, adds $46 billion to the value of U.S. economic output, provides $29 billion in wages for nearly 500,000 workers, and contributes $11 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. The Act has been broadly supported by every Congress and Administration since its passage in 1920 and is considered a key element in the nation's national defense capabilities.
          For more information, contact Mark Ruge at (202) 494-2256.
          1601 K Street NW &#9830; Washington, DC 20006
          Phone 202-661-3740 &#9830; Fax 202-778-9100 &#9830; www.mctf.com

          Also see: http://www.marinelink.com/news/opposes-repeal-force334723.aspx
          _________________________________

          --- In PMMC-NLUS@yahoogroups.com, "Pacific Merchant Marine Council" <pmmc@...> wrote:

          http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/senator-john-mccain-pushes-repeal-jones-act

          Senator John McCain Pushes to Repeal the Jones Act
          Friday, June 25th, 2010
          The Senator Introduces Open America's Water Act...

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