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In the face of overwhelming bipartisan opposition led by the maritime unions and the U.S.-flag industry, a proposed anti-Jones Act amendment never even reached the Senate floor before the final vote on the Keystone XL Pipeline bill was taken on January 29.

In remarks thanking all who were involved in the rapid grassroots campaign across the country, MTD President Michael Sacco said, “Thank you for answering the call with emails and phone calls to your Senators. You absolutely made a difference.”

Several weeks ago, the MTD learned that Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was drafting an amendment to the Keystone measure that would eliminate the U.S.-build portion of the Jones Act, the nation’s freight cabotage law.

Port Maritime Councils around the country as well as MTD affiliates and allies reacted immediately by alerting their elected officials to the risks posed by such an amendment. More than 400,000 domestic job directly and indirectly tied to the U.S. shipbuilding industry were at stake. Support for the Jones Act – and against the amendment – was swift and absolute from Republicans and Democrats alike.

“We know this won’t be the last time we have to step up to defend our domestic shipping industry, but this is a great victory for Jones Act supporters like us, and your overwhelming response was a big reason why we prevailed,” added Sacco.

The Senate-approved Keystone bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. Should it pass the House, the measure will go to the White House. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill. The MTD will continue to monitor the activities on Capitol Hill on the Keystone bill – as well as others – for any impact on the U.S.-flag maritime industry.