The Jones Act and The Power of Unions
"Two days after Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff got approval for a blanket waiver of the Jones Act so that oil and natural gas could be brought into the area on non-approved ships. Meanwhile, President Obama and others continue to insist that such a blanket waiver is "not needed at this time."
Who is benefiting from this law's enforcement? One major beneficiary is organized labor. Ships that meet the requirements of the Jones Act are crewed by unionized labor and granting waivers to it would bring lower-wage labor into competition with those nice union jobs, potentially threatening them. One theory is that President Obama does not want to risk alienating the labor vote by waiving the Jones Act even for a short period of time. President Bush had no such concerns as labor wasn't going to vote for him anyway."