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The Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO is urging its affiliates and port councils to oppose an amendment being offered to the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline legislation that would repeal a portion of the Jones Act. The overall legislation is being debated on the floor of the U.S. Senate at this time.

“This amendment has no place in the Keystone bill or in Congress,” stated MTD President Michael Sacco. “It is just another attack from those seeking to cripple the U.S.-flag maritime industry. We need all hands on deck to defeat this amendment.”

The amendment, offered by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) on January 13, would call for elimination of the domestic build requirement of the Jones Act, the nation’s freight cabotage law which has been in place since 1920. The Jones Act has long been supported by elected officials from both political parties as well as the military because of its economic and national security benefits to the country. The domestic build requirement supports thousands of good paying, middle class jobs. Without it, America’s strategic readiness would be harmed.

The Keystone legislation is expected to take the full attention of the Senate through mid-January. Amendments may be offered and considered during the floor debate. The MTD and its affiliates will continue to monitor the discussions for possible ramifications to its members. The MTD calls on its members, affiliates and port councils to oppose any amendment that would weaken the Jones Act.