Biden executive order reaffirms Jones Act support

Written by Nick Blenkey
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President Joe Biden: Executive order "reiterates my strong support for the Jones Act and American vessels, and our ports." [Screen capture from C-Span]

In signing his “Buy American” executive order yesterday, President Joe Biden specifically endorsed the importance of the Jones Act , saying the executive action “reiterates my strong support for the Jones Act and American vessels, and our ports, especially those important for America’s clean energy future and the development of offshore renewable energy.”

All of that has drawn strong praise from U.S. domestic maritime trade associations and maritime labor. Here’s just a sampling:

“For over a century the Jones Act has been foundational to America’s economic success and national security,” said Ben Bordelon, Chairman of the Shipbuilders Council of America. “As a third generation shipbuilder, I’m pleased that the Biden Administration is taking action to protect and ensure the continued success of the U.S. maritime defense industrial base.”

“As the trade association for the Jones Act companies that construct and service offshore energy infrastructure, OMSA applauds the Administration for including strong statements in support of the Jones Act—especially support for the Jones Act as it relates to offshore wind energy construction,” said Aaron Smith, President and CEO of the Offshore Marine Service Association. “The Administration is also correct when it says that we must close loopholes in the laws that protect American workers from unfair international competition. OMSA completely agrees with this statement and hopes that we can work with the Administration and Congress to close Jones Act and visa loopholes that allow foreign vessels and foreign workers to engage in U.S. offshore wind farm activity. We are confident that with the right protections, we can ensure U.S. wind power produces U.S. jobs.”

“As the national trade association for the American tugboat, towboat and barge industry, the American Waterways Operators commends President Biden for reaffirming his strong support for the Jones Act in the opening days of his administration,” said Jennifer Carpenter, president and CEO, the American Waterways Operators. “The Jones Act is the foundation for every dollar AWO member companies invest in American-built vessels and every job they provide for Americans across the country. We look forward to working with the President and his team to strengthen the American maritime industry, which is crucial to our national, homeland and economic security.”

“While it is no surprise that the Biden Administration supports critical American industries such as American Maritime, this order is an extremely important and timely statement of the Administration’s policy,” said American Maritime Partnership President Mike Roberts. “With this order, American Maritime will have greater confidence for the next several years to make investments in American vessels and maritime infrastructure while furthering environmental stewardship, efficiency and support of our homeland and national security objectives. We are very grateful for the Administration’s support.”

Labor leaders applauding the excutive action include Michael Sacco, President of the Maritime Trades Department of the AFL-CIO.

“The Jones Act provides family-supporting, quality jobs to not just mariners but all kinds of American workers in the 50 states and Puerto Rico,” stated Sacco. “President Biden stood up for American mariners as a U.S. senator and as Vice President. He knows we deliver the goods around the country and the world.”

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