The Navy is opposing legislation in Congress that would scrap the 90-year-old Jones Act.
The law requires vessels transporting goods between states to have been built in the United States, be crewed and owned by U.S. citizens, and fly the U.S. flag.
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain’s measure would abolish those rules, which he says raises prices for consumers and farmers.
But the Navy says the act’s repeal will erode the U.S. shipbuilding industry and hamper the service’s ability to meet strategic ocean transport requirements and Navy shipbuilding.
U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, a Republican from Hawaii, also supports ending the Jones Act. But Democratic Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye, and Rep. Mazie Hirono back it.