December 24, 2008
Congressmen send maritime wish list to Obama
While everyone else was writing to Santa, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Representatives Gene Taylor (D-MS) and Rob Wittman (R-VA) sponsored letters to President-elect Barack Obama urging him to make rebuilding America's Navy, Coast Guard and merchant fleets a national priority. The letters were written in response to a resolution passed unanimously at the annual American Shipbuilding Association (ASA) Convention.
"The letters," says the ASA, "specify the shipbuilding industrial base workforce of 400,000 people in 47 states as a crucial industry to America's national and economic security. Moreover, they cite the Navy's documented requirement for a minimum fleet of 313 battle force ships and the need to procure 12 naval ships per year to meet the requirement. The need for a larger fleet is underscored by the growing navies of Russia and China, as well as growing security threats to the sea lanes, where more than 90% of global commerce is transported. The Coast Guard is also in great need of revitalization, being one of the oldest fleets in the world. The Coast Guard needs new and improved ships to complete such tasks as search and rescue, drug interdiction, and polar icebreaking missions. The letters also discuss the need to budget $60 million annually for the Title XI Ship Loan Guarantee program to finance construction of commercial ships for America's domestic energy development and transportation. Recapitalization of America's sea services will stimulate the economy by creating and sustaining thousands of engineering and production jobs across the United States."
The Senate letter was signed by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Mel Martinez (R-FL), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), David Vitter (R-LA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jack Reed (D-RI), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Bill Nelson (D-FL), John Kerry (D-MA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Chris Dodd (D-CT).
Representatives sponsoring the House letter include Gene Taylor (D-MS), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Steve Kagen (D-WI), Robert Brady (D-PA), Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Joe Courtney (D-CT), Susan Davis (D-CA), Rodney Alexander (R-LA), Henry Brown (R-SC), Eric Cantor (R-VA), Jim Langevin (D-RI), James McGovern (D-MA), Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU), John Carter (R-TX), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Randy Forbes (R-VA), Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), Corrine Brown (D-FL), Bart Stupak (D-MI), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Betty Sutton (D-OH), Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Michael Michaud (D-ME), Steve Scalise (R-LA), Travis Childers (D-MS), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Bob Latta (R-OH), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Bob Filner (D-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Steven Rothman (D-NJ), Gene Green (D-TX), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Jo Bonner (R-AL), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Pete Visclosky (D-IN), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) and Timothy Bishop (D-NY).
ASA members include the six largest U.S. shipyards and 93 companies engaged in the manufacture of ship systems and components.