Charles Djou and the GOP Invent a Controversy

Jonesing for controversy…

“Hawaii GOP Rep. Charles Djou…says he’s ‘disappointed’ that Mr. Obama has failed to waive the Jones Act, an antiquated 1920 law mandating that goods shipped between U.S. ports be handled by U.S.-built and -owned ships manned by U.S. crews. Unions fiercely support the law as a means of preserving U.S. jobs. In this case, though, the law might be hindering the recovery of hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast jobs.”
- From a June 16 release at Djou.com; Rep. Djou along with other prominent Republicans including John McCain and Sarah Palin, has called on Obama to temporarily repeal the Jones Act, which mandates that ships carrying cargo between U.S. ports be American made and owned. In a June 11 FOX News interview, Palin said, “It’s amazing to me and to so many others that though President Bush had been able to waive Jones Act provisions for Katrina, President Obama hasn’t thought to do that yet.”

“Currently 15 foreign-flagged vessels are involved in the largest response to an oil spill in U.S. history. No Jones Act waivers have been granted because none of these vessels have required such a waiver to conduct their operations as part of the response in the Gulf of Mexico. While we have not seen any need to waive the Jones Act as part of this historic response, we continue to prepare for all possible scenarios…”
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From information posted June 18 on the official Deepwater Horizon Response Web site. According to the nonpartisan organization FactCheck.org, “Reports claiming that the federal government has refused help are not only incorrect—foreign assistance has been utilized—but are also misleading…”

Oh, and since Palin brought up Hurricane Katrina:

“[T]he United States…fail[ed] to collect most of the unprecedented outpouring of international cash assistance for Katrina’s victims. Allies offered $854 million in cash and in oil that was to be sold for cash. But only $40 million has been used so far for disaster victims or reconstruction, according to U.S. officials and contractors. Most of the aid went uncollected, including $400 million worth of oil…. In addition, valuable supplies and services–such as cellphone systems, medicine and cruise ships–were delayed or declined because the government could not handle them. In some cases, supplies were wasted.”

- From an April 2007 Washington Post report titled “Most Katrina Aid From Overseas Went Unclaimed”