In one of his first hearings on Capitol Hill since being sworn in as the Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg told members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, “I strongly support the Jones Act.”
The secretary was answering a question from U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele (D-HI) during the March 25 hearing.
Buttigieg reinforced President Biden’s longstanding support for the nation’s freight cabotage law, adding, “The Jones Act also ensures that we don’t lose our domestic shipbuilding capability so that we’re not in the situation, as you pointed out, where Chinese-flagged vessels could wind up being the only place we could turn to carry our domestic commerce on the Mississippi River or between Florida and New York. That, obviously, would have national security implications.”
A seven-year veteran of the U.S. Navy Reserve who was deployed to Afghanistan, Buttigieg continued, “If we lose our national maritime industry, it might not return, and the consequences would be devastating. So, I’m going to continue to ensure that the U.S. Maritime Administration and [Transportation Department] are doing our part, recognizing that there are many U.S. agencies that are involved in the Jones Act. And we’ll be doing everything we can to support that agency, as well as our merchant marine.”
Earlier in March, support for the Jones Act came from a different venue – the West Virginia State Senate.
On March 9, that body adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 20 “expressing support for the Jones Act and celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Jones Act.”
Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, of which the Jones Act is included.
Within its resolved clause, the West Virginia Senate “affirms its resolute support for the Jones Act and in fostering a strong domestic maritime industry that is critical to West Virginia’s and the nation’s economic prosperity and national security.”
The resolution awaits action by the state’s House of Delegates.