The U.S. House of Representatives has passed an amendment offered by Congressmen Elijah E. Cummings (D, MD-07) and Jeff Landry (R, LA-03) increasing transparency surrounding the issuance of waivers allowing foreign vessels to carry cargo between points in the United States.
The Cummings-Landry amendment to the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act requires the Maritime Administration (MARAD), when waiving the Jones Act, to make recommendations on actions that could be taken to enable Jones Act-qualified vessels to carry the cargo. The amendment also requires the waiver determinations to be published on the MARAD website and provided to Congress.
"At a time when our highest priority must be the creation of jobs, I am pleased that the House has moved to approve this amendment, ensuring that jobs are handed back to Americans," said Cummings --Senior Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and former Chairman of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. "Adoption of this provision will significantly enhance transparency surrounding the distribution of Jones Act waivers and enable us to better assess whether we have truly made every possible attempt to utilize Jones Act-qualified vessels in the coastwise trade."
"Today is another step in the right direction for government transparency and American job creation," said Landry -- Vice Chairman of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee. "As the Congressman whose district has the most domestic maritime industry jobs in the nation and transports much of the nation's energy-based resources, I am grateful my colleagues joined me in voting today to help put the American mariner back to work."
In addition to passing the amendment, Cummings and Landry co-led a bi-partisan letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, requesting that she issue a statement in support of the Jones Act in conjunction with the President's recent proclamation naming today as "National Defense Transportation Day."