Although President Obama still refuses to acknowledge the Jones Act, Republican Senators have offered legislation, the WAIVER Act, which would remedy its ill effects. Supportive of this legislation, ATR sent out the following press release:
As President Obama continues to delay the Gulf cleanup by refusing to waive the Jones Act – effectively preventing aid from foreign vessels – and stands by the moratorium on drilling, members of Congress have decided to take action.
Senators Cornyn (R-Texas), LeMieux (R-Fla.), and Hutchinson (R-Texas) have introduced legislation, S. 3512, the WAIVER (Water Assistance from International Vessels for Emergency Response), which would temporarily suspend the Jones Act and allow foreign vessels to enter the Gulf of Mexico to aid in the cleanup of the oil spill. The Jones act mandates that “all goods shipped between U.S. ports must be transported in U.S.-built, U.S. owned and U.S. manned ships.” Two days after Hurricane Katrina hit the coast of Louisiana, on September 1, 2005, President Bush waived the Jones Act, expediting foreign support.
“The only reason the president has preserved the Jones Act during this national emergency is to protect maritime unions. Democrats have politicized this disaster and are using it to appease frustrated unions. Republican senators have proposed good legislation, S. 3512, that would waive the Jones Act and get a cleanup underway,” Norquist added.
Addressing the drilling moratorium that could cost 150,000 permanent jobs, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and Rep. Olson (R-Texas) have introduced a bill that will terminate the moratorium on deepwater drilling issued by the Secretary of the Interior. At the moment, offshore drilling provides 150,000 Americans with jobs and pays more than $6 billion to the federal government in taxes each year. Everyday the moratorium is in place our economy loses millions of dollars
“While it is unrealistic to think the federal government has the specialization necessary to stop an oil leak one mile below sea level, it is fair to ask why they aren’t doing everything within their power to protect the Gulf,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform. “How Obama can turn down assistance from countries that are more experienced at cleaning up oil is confounding.”