By Austin Bogues
U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Virginia Beach, introduced legislation Wednesdas to repeal cuts to the amount of U.S. food aid required to be carried on U.S. flagged vessels. Along with U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., Rigell is seeking to reduce the cuts which reduced from 75 percent to 50 percent the amount of food aid required on the vessels.
"Our region, indeed, our national economy, depends on a robust American shipping industry, and we must protect those jobs," Rigell said in a statement released from his office. Rigell serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on the Budget.
"Further, we should not have to depend on foreign-owned vessels to deliver cargo to our troops overseas. This legislation will ensure we keep Americans employed while defending the good men and women who are defending our freedom around the world."
In Rigell's release he says in 1975 there were 850 ocean-going shiops under the U.S. flag, at the end of 2012 there were just 109 U.S. flagged vessels involved in foreign trade. Rigell says the Maritime Administration estimates the cuts could reduce revenues for the U.S.-flagged fleet by $90 million.