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Taking no chance that his words would be misinterpreted or misunderstood, U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-LA.) solidly reaffirmed his strong backing of critical laws and programs that protect America’s national and economic security by helping maintain a viable U.S. Merchant Marine.

Addressing the Washington, DC, chapter of the Propeller Club of the United States on Nov. 21, Vitter credited the industry for great cooperation between management and labor that has helped turn back some attempts to weaken the American-flag fleet.

After calling the nearly 100 people in the room his “friends,” he stated, “I continue to be an ardent supporter and advocate for the Jones Act, and I think we constantly need to stay on guard about that…. There are constant attacks.

“I’m also a big supporter of the Food for Peace program,” the senator declared. “It’s a mainstay of the way we help other nations, and I think it should stay a mainstay because it helps friends and allies abroad and also helps our economy. There are folks, including in the administration, who really want to convert almost all of that to pure cash assistance. I think that is crazy for all sorts of reasons, including the huge opportunity for fraud and abuse – just stealing of cash. And also because you get no positive impact if you convert to that, in terms of our economy. So I’ll stay fighting hard on that.”

Vitter then said he also will continue to support the U.S. Maritime Security Program (MSP), which is vital to sustaining America’s sealift capability.