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Louisiana Senator Queries Homeland Security Regarding Jones Act


Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) specifically sought the position for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regarding the Jones Act when that agency’s head was testifying March 12 before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Homeland Security.

Landrieu, who chairs the subcommittee, reaffirmed her longstanding support for the Jones Act before asking Secretary Jeh Charles Johnson, “So, what are your views of the Jones Act? And under what circumstances can you imagine it would have to be waived?”

After explaining how a waiver may be obtained, Johnson further responded, “In my experience as secretary of DHS, I have not seen that yet. And so, we have maintained – enforced the general rule that U.S. port to U.S. port should involve a U.S.-flagged vessel.”

Landrieu thanked the secretary for his answer, noting that “the majority of members of Congress would feel strongly about that. And that is the law. We will be carefully monitoring it.”

Several times during the Obama administration, various federal departments have sought Jones Act waivers, a few of which were granted on different occasions despite the fact U.S.-flag, U.S.-crewed vessels were available. The Jones Act, which is part of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, states that cargo moved between two domestic ports must be carried by U.S.-flag, U.S.-owned, U.S.-crewed and U.S.-built vessels.

The MTD again expressed its strong support for the law during last month’s executive board meeting.

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