Senator John McCain (R-AZ) this week filed an amendment to repeal the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act, making good on a promise he made last year to try to overturn the long-time measure.  The Jones Act requires all goods shipped between waterborne ports of the United States be carried by vessels built in the United States and owned and operated by Americans.

“I have long advocated for a full repeal of the Jones Act, an antiquated law that has for too long hindered free trade, made U.S. industry less competitive, and raised prices for American consumers,” Senator McCain said in a statement. “The amendment I am introducing again today would eliminate this unnecessary, protectionist restriction.”

According to the Congressional Research Service, it costs $6 a barrel to move crude from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast United States on a Jones Act tanker, while a foreign-flag tanker can take that same crude to a refinery in Canada for $2 a barrel — taking money directly out of the pockets of American consumers, McCain said.  “I hope my colleagues will join in this important effort to repeal this archaic legislation to spur job creation and promote free trade,” McCain said.

Meanwhile, the American Maritime Partnership (AMP), which represents vessel operators, shipyards, workers, and others, joined the Navy League and others this week in opposing Senator McCain’s amendment to the Keystone pipeline bill.

“This amendment, if passed, would have a significant impact on our nation’s ability to support our sea services, our domestic shipbuilding industrial base, and our maritime industry.  And, at a time, when we are experiencing a surge in new U.S. ship construction, this amendment would do serious harm to a crucial domestic industry that, according to a recent study by the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration, industry supports more than 400,000 jobs in all 50 states, which boost our economy by almost $60 billion every year,” the AMP said.