On February 7, 2013, Congressmen Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and Michael Grimm (R-NY) announced the formation of a Congressional Maritime Caucus. The caucus will give every member of Congress an opportunity to better understand the crucial role that the U.S.-flag maritime industry and its workforce of ‘maritime Americans’ play in strengthening our nation’s economic, military and homeland security.
Richmond, a Democrat who represents Louisiana’s 2nd District, and Grimm, a Republican who represents New York’s 11th District, say the primary purpose of the new Maritime Caucus will be to help educate members of Congress about a broad range of maritime-related topics. “The maritime industry is the unsung hero of our nation’s economy,” Richmond says.
“The operation of U.S.-flag vessels with American crews strengthens the domestic economy,” says Don Marcus, President of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, & Pilots. “It keeps thousands of Americans employed, generates tax revenues for our government and contributes to our nation’s economic recovery.”
“Without a strong peacetime U.S.-flag merchant marine, America’s troops overseas will not have the American vessels and American crews necessary to deliver the supplies they need to protect the interests of our country,” Marcus says. “The men and women of the U.S. merchant marine are on the front lines every day. The Congressional Maritime Caucus will help increase awareness of the essential job they do.”
The Congressional Maritime Caucus is a new concept and one that is welcomed by the American maritime industry as a whole. Increasing maritime awareness in Congress will go far in maintaining and growing the American fleet of merchant ships.