Thursday, July 26, 2012
House representatives reach across the aisle to save maritime jobs
Two U.S. congressional representatives, Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Republican Jeff Landry of Louisiana, introduced the Saving Essential American Sailors (SEAS) act on Tuesday, which would mandate that American workers transport American food aid.
The act repeals a section of the highway bill that MARAD has said might cause the U.S.-flagged fleet to lose 16 vessels and $90 million in yearly income. Section 100124 of the bill reduced the amount of U.S. food aid that must be carried on U.S.-flagged ships from 75 percent to 50 percent, endangering up to 2,000 American maritime jobs.
"This is what happens when Washington rushes bills; we don't fully debate them or understand their ramifications. Section 100124 will mean that American taxpayers will be paying foreign workers while American mariners sit on the beach," said Landry. "I hope my colleagues from both sides of the aisle will join us in fighting for our American workers and quickly pass the SEAS Act."
"The SEAS Act will undo a shortsighted provision that dealt a huge blow to job creation at a time when the maritime industry is already hurting," said House Representative Rick Larsen of Washington state, a co-sponsor of the bill. "Congress should be doing everything it can to create jobs. The SEAS Act will reverse this backward step that could cost our mariners thousands of jobs.
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