The Maritime Cabotage Task Force has issued the following statement on S. 3525, the legislation to Repeal the Jones Act introduced by Senator John McCain:
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Finally, the McCain bill is based on studies that are outdated and widely discredited.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.