A United States congressman from Texas recently used a hypothetical image to drive home a very real point.
U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) on May 16 spoke on the House floor to commend President Trump for not waiving the Jones Act and to express support for the nation’s freight cabotage law. The congressman’s office created a fictional image of a Chinese-flagged freighter navigating the Mississippi River under the St. Louis Gateway Arch to demonstrate what would happen if the Jones Act were waived or eliminated.
“For the past 100 years, the Jones Act has brought strength and certainty to maritime commerce here in the United States,” said Babin. “It has protected the rights of American sailors, created and maintained American jobs, and has been one of the single largest factors in facilitating the strong American economy that we are enjoying. The Jones Act states that goods shipped between U.S. ports are to be built, owned, and operated by the citizens of the United States.”
He continued, “Can you imagine a Chinese-built vessel, flying the Chinese national flag, and operated by Chinese citizens traveling through the American heartland to deliver goods to our ports? Although this is a hypothetical situation, it could easily become a reality if the Jones Act is waived. Our national security, economic growth, and our ability to provide American jobs would be in jeopardy. Worst of all, waiving the Jones Act would allow these foreign-operated ships into our waterways and could be opening the door to espionage.
“We need the Jones Act, and I encourage those who want to repeal it to watch my speech and explain why the image that you see in the video would make for a better and stronger America,” he concluded.
As reported in last month’s LOG, multiple news outlets had indicated the president was pondering an extended Jones Act waiver for moving American LNG to domestic ports. However, U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi) as well as House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) met with the president May 1 and came away assured that he will fully stand behind the maritime law.
A new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that the nation’s freight cabotage law helps sustain nearly 650,000 American jobs while contributing $154 billion to the nation’s economic growth annually. Moreover, 91 countries across the globe maintain some form of cabotage law.