McCain seeks to open US domestic routes to foreign ships

Sen. John McCain seems to revel in the occasional lonely crusade. This time, he’s taking on America’s maritime industry and the longstanding law barring foreign-built ships from transporting goods within the U.S.

McCain’s opposition to the 1920 Jones Act isn’t new, but his status as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is. He’s made clear in recent weeks that one of his priorities is to strip away some of the maritime industry’s protections, which he says stifle competition and drive up costs.

Federal law requires that ships transporting cargo between two U.S. ports be built in the United States, manned by U.S. citizens and primarily owned by U.S. citizens.

Supporters of the protections say they worry about the ramification for national defense and jobs, if McCain succeeds.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Help us get to 100% of our membership goal to support the reporters covering our region, the producers bringing you great local programs and the educators who teach all our children.