W&O announced its opposition to the McCain Amendment (amendment #2) to S.1, which it said would cripple the U.S. shipbuilding industry by striking the U.S. build requirement provisions of the Jones Act.
“The amendment Senator John McCain has put forth would devastate W&O’s business and others operating in the maritime industry. The ripple effect of this legislation would also impact companies and individuals outside our industry, significantly affecting the 480,000 jobs tied to maritime operations,” said Michael Hume, president and CEO of W&O. “We employ nearly 300 individuals across the country who come to work every day with a passion to serve our customers. W&O will stand with our trade associations, such as the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA) and the Navy League of the United States, requesting our Congress to vote ‘No’ on this amendment. We find it is difficult to understand why a Navy Veteran like Senator McCain would want to shift our maritime jobs overseas; especially at this tenuous time when we are facing increased global threats. We strongly suggest and respectfully request that he reconsider this irresponsible amendment.”
The Jones Act requires vessels in domestic waterborne trade to be owned by U.S. citizens, built in the United States and crewed by U.S. mariners, a critical component to the long-term sustainability of the U.S. fleet and the health of the U.S. shipbuilding industry, W&O said. The American domestic maritime industry is investing record amounts in new ship construction in virtually every trade—a “tremendous renaissance,” according to Paul “Chip” Jaenichen, administrator of the U.S. Maritime Administration. W&O said the amendment is particularly troubling because shipyards are among the largest employers in many states, providing stable manufacturing jobs that pay far above the national average. A recent study by the U.S. Maritime Administration cited the “economic importance” of the American shipbuilding and repair industry. Overall, the Jones Act is responsible for more than 480,000 jobs nationwide with an economic impact in excess of $90 billion. In addition, the Government Accountability Office, the independent investigative arm of Congress, said America’s military power is dependent on a strong “shipyard industrial base to support national defense needs.” The amendment would have unforeseen and chilling repercussions on national security and the wholesale outsourcing of American jobs.