FLORIDA CONGRESSWOMAN FIGHTS TO GET PASSENGER CRUISE VESSELS SAILING AGAIN; GOOD NEWS FOR FLORIDA, NEW YORK AND ALL ILA CRUISE LOCALS
REPRESENTATIVES SALAZAR & YOUNG JOIN WITH SENATORS RUBIO, SCOTT, & SULLIVAN TO INTRODUCE CRUISE ACT IN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar (FL-27), the Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Don Young (AK-AL), and a number of their House colleagues, introduced the Careful Resumption Under Improved Safety Enhancements (CRUISE) Act, which would revoke the CDC’s current No Sail Order on cruises and require the CDC to provide COVID-19 mitigation guidance for cruise lines to resume safe domestic operations.
This comes in the wake of legislation introduced in the Senate earlier this week by Senators Rick Scott (FL), Dan Sullivan (AK), and Marco Rubio (FL). They are joined by Representatives Randy Weber (TX-14), Nancy Mace (SC-01), Carlos Giménez (FL-26), Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Jerry Carl (AL-01), Greg Steube (FL-17), Jenniffer González-Colón (PR), Scott Franklin (FL-15), Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), and Debbie Lesko (AZ- 08) who will propel this legislation through the House.
It has been almost 400 days since a passenger stepped foot on a cruise ship from U.S. soil. Ships have been anchored at port for over a year. The suspension in U.S. cruise departures has resulted in the loss of $5.64 billion to the State of Florida’s economy, the loss of 91,450 jobs, and the loss of $4.44 billion in wages. The ripple effects of these devastating losses are being felt across the nation.
“Welcoming over 5 million passengers and $9 billion dollars directly into our economy each year, Miami is the Cruise Capital of the World and it is time to start sailing again. I am proud to join my Senate colleagues and lead this fight in the House so that our ships can return to sea, our longshoremen can return to port, and Americans can start cruising again,” said Congresswoman Salazar. “This legislation will fix the CDC’s arbitrary guidelines and give clarity and fairness to the industry that creates hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout Miami’s entire tourism economy.”
“Alaska’s tourism economy depends on the summer cruise season,” Congressman Don Young said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the tourism sector and caused undue stress on the Alaskan small businesses that rely on being able to welcome visitors from around the world. Even before we had effective vaccines, the CDC continued allowing airlines, trains, and other hospitality providers to operate unencumbered. On the other hand, cruise lines have been unjustly singled out by CDC shutting down an entire industry with huge economic ripple effects. As the country begins to turn the corner on the pandemic, this industry has been denied the attention and direction from federal regulators enjoyed by other transportation sectors. With the 2021 cruise season hanging in the balance, significant progress towards the resumption of cruising is urgently needed. Every day that passes without the lifting of CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order is one day closer to the loss of the 2021 Alaska cruise season. No federal agency should have the ability to deprive Alaskans and their businesses the opportunity to earn a living for over 31 months. I am very proud to support the introduction of the CRUISE Act, which will finally force the CDC to issue concrete cruise guidance and implement a plan for cruises to set sail safely. I want to thank Senator Dan Sullivan for leading this crucial effort in the Senate. This is not just an Alaskan issue, and I want to also thank Congresswoman Salazar, and Senators Scott and Rubio. They, like us, have heard from their constituents in Florida on this pressing issue. We must trust the science; vaccines are effective and proper protocols can be put in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. With the livelihoods of countless Alaskan small businesses in the state’s ports and Alaska Native communities on the line, I not only call on the CDC to recognize this perilous moment for so many small business owners, but I also ask my colleagues to cosponsor this critical bill.”
The CRUISE Act:
- Requires the CDC to issue recommendations for how to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 to passengers and crew onboard cruise ships.
- Establishes an interagency “Working Group” that will develop recommendations to facilitate the resumption of passenger cruise ship operations in the United States. The recommendations will facilitate the resumption of passenger cruise ship operations in the United States no later than July 1, 2021.
- No later than July 1, 2021, the CDC must revoke the order entitled “Framework for Conditional Sailing and Initial Phase COVID-19 Testing Requirements for Protection of Crew.”
- Ensures that HHS and CDC retain all appropriate authorities to make and enforce regulations necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases on any individual cruise ship.
“As we continue to work our way back towards normalcy, it is essential that American businesses are given proper guidance from the CDC on how to safely resume operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart . “Unfortunately, as our nation continues to reopen and vaccines become more prevalent, the U.S. cruise industry remains entirely paralyzed, costing thousands of American jobs and severely impacting Florida’s economy. This is indefensible and a disservice to those businesses and individuals who rely on the cruise industry for their livelihood. Similar to airlines and rail, cruise lines should be allowed to operate if they have adequate safety protocols in place, which is why I am proud to join my colleagues in requesting that the CDC issue their guidance for the resumption of cruise operations and end the No-Sail Order for cruise ships.”
Rep. Nancy Mace said: “Few industries were harder hit during the pandemic than the travel and tourism industry. As our economy continues to reopen and recover, we need to do everything we can to help this important sector get back on its feet. Our bill will support this process by jumpstarting safety guidance that will allow the cruise industry to again safely operate off our shores.”
Rep. Carlos Gimenez said: “It is time to hold the CDC accountable for their decision to ignore America’s vaccination efforts, and in turn, stop our cruise lines from sailing. If we are to follow the science and believe in the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC must work to establish mitigation protocols for cruise lines. The unwillingness of the CDC to adapt its guidelines to the ever-changing nature of the country’s pandemic response unrelentlessly destroys an industry that generates hundreds of thousands of jobs and several billions of dollars to our economy. Let’s get our people back to work.”
“The continued shuttering of U.S. cruise industry is as unfair as it is illogical. While the CDC has finally issued updates to the Conditional Sailing Order; these newest requirements do not put the industry any closer to resuming operations. International cruises have been operating safely, with heightened pandemic protections in place, for several months. Many of these international cruise passengers have been Americans. This speaks to the pent up domestic demand that exists for cruising,” said Congressman Bilirakis. “Additionally, other forms of transportation remained operational throughout the pandemic, with far fewer safety protocols in place than the international cruise lines have already implemented. This inequitable treatment has had a catastrophic impact on the industry and on countless small businesses throughout the state of Florida that rely on cruise-industry revenue.” ”
“In contrast to authoritarian lockdowns in states like New York and California, Florida has stayed open for business and tackled the coronavirus crisis at the same time. But because of the CDC’s unresponsiveness to efforts to safely restart cruising, thousands of Florida jobs are still being sacrificed,” Rep. Brian Mast said. “The CRUISE Act would change that by establishing clear guidance for restarting cruising as safely as possible.”
Rep. Jerry Carl said: “I’m proud to be an original cosponsor the Careful Resumption Under Improved Safety Enhancement (CRUISE) Act, which would direct the CDC to issue general guidance for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 on cruise ships by June 1. It is time for the CDC to remove any order or regulation preventing cruise ships from operating in the U.S. by July 4th, which matches President Biden’s timeline for a return to normal. The cruise industry is especially important to our local and state economy, with countless local businesses relying on cruise traffic to stay afloat.”
“Cruise ports in other countries have been able to safely sail with COVID-19 mitigation measures and U.S. cruise ports should be able to do the same. Our ports are the gateway to regional economic activity around the country, and many depend on the cruise industry to support their operations. The White House needs to provide strong leadership, break the logjam created by the CDC, and move this forward,” said Rep. Bill Posey.
Congresswoman Salazar currently represents Florida’s beautiful 27th Congressional district which includes PortMiami and most of the City of Miami, its suburbs, and the beaches. She serves on the Small Business Committee and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs