Cummings, Landry Applaud Passage of Legislation that Strengthens the Jones Act

December 5, 2012
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressmen Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) and Jeff Landry (R-LA) applauded passage in the House of H.Res. 825 which provided for consideration of an amended version of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2012.  Section 301 contains many of the provisions of H.R. 3202, the American Mariners Job Protection Act, introduced by Cummings and Landry to expand transparency surrounding the issuance of waivers to allow non-Jones Act-qualified vessels to carry cargo between two points in the United States.

“The Jones Act should be waived only when no U.S. vessels are capable of carrying cargo between two U.S. ports,” Congressman Cummings said.  “The inclusion in this Coast Guard authorization of the provisions of H.R. 3202 will bring much-needed transparency to the process by which Jones Act waivers are issued, including requiring the Maritime Administration to formally identify all of the actions that could be taken to enable U.S.-flagged vessels to carry the cargo for which a Jones Act waiver is sought.  With this information, we will be better able to assess whether a Jones Act waiver is truly needed.”

“This provision shows how government should work, Republicans and Democrats working together with industry and labor to pass a provision which will protect American jobs and put our nation on a strong footing,” Congressman Landry said after passage of the bill. “Section 301 will provide a playbook to the maritime industry, one they can follow to bring fewer Jones Act waivers and more jobs for our workers.”

The Jones Act requires that “a vessel may not provide any part of the transportation of merchandise by water, or by land and water, between points in the United States to which the coastwise laws apply, either directly or via a foreign port” unless the vessel is built in the United States, crewed by Americans, and owned by Americans.

Cummings and Landry introduced H.R. 3202 on October 14, 2011.  They subsequently offered this legislation as an amendment to H.R. 2838, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2012, during consideration of that bill by the House of Representatives in November 2012.  The amendment was adopted by a voice vote.