Congressman Dusty Johnson and President Joe Biden are celebrating the House’s 369–42 approval of the Senate’s version of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, an effort to address one of the fundamental causes of inflation, the shortage of shipping containers driven by pandemic disruption and corporate gouging. President Biden says yay for helping farmers and ranchers get more space on overseas shipping, and yay for Dusty and Senator John Thune doing what the President told them to and helping Democrats pass this useful socialist intervention in the predatory and irresponsible capitalist marketplace:
Lowering prices for Americans is my top priority, and I applaud the Congress for passing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act on a bipartisan basis, which will help lower costs for American retailers, farmers and consumers. I want to thank Senator Klobuchar, Senator Thune, Rep. Garamendi, and Rep. Dusty Johnson for their leadership and helping drive forward this important legislation.
In my State of the Union address, I called on Congress to address ocean carriers’ high prices and unfair practices because rising ocean shipping costs are a major contributing factor to increased costs for American families. During the pandemic, ocean carriers increased their prices by as much as 1,000%. And, too often, these ocean carriers are refusing to take American exports back to Asia, leaving with empty containers instead. That’s costing farmers and ranchers—and our economy—a lot of money.
This bill will make progress reducing costs for families and ensuring fair treatment for American businesses—including farmers and ranchers. I look forward to signing it into law [President Joe Biden, statement on Congressional passage of Ocean Shipping Reform Act, 2022.06.13].
All the nays on this bill came from Dusty’s fellow Republicans, the usual radicals (Boebert, Brooks, Cawthorn, Gaetz…) who care less about protecting farmers and fighting inflation than about scoring alt-right points. Congressman Johnson ignores his caucus-mates obstreperism, but he also fails to give Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar top billing as prime sponsor, even as he and Tall John tout bipartisanship:
U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) today issued the following statements after the U.S. House of Representatives passed their Ocean Shipping Reform Act (S. 3580). The bipartisan, bicameral legislation, which unanimously passed the U.S. Senate in March, would strengthen the authority of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) by providing it with new tools to help level the playing field for American exporters and counteract anticompetitive behavior. The bill would also help FMC more efficiently resolve disputes between ocean carriers and shippers, while also taking actions at the U.S. Department of Transportation to alleviate strain across the supply chain. Their bill now heads to the president’s desk, where it’s expected to be signed into law [Congressman Dusty Johnson, press release: “Thune-Johnson Ocean Shipping Reform Act Heads to President’s Desk”, 2022.06.13].
Dusty at least mentions his main House partner in pushing the OSRA, California Congressman John Garamendi, in his praise for and summary of this impending law:
“Foreign flagged ocean carriers are playing games with American agriculture exports and our bill puts an end to it,” said Johnson. “The Ocean Shipping Reform Act is the strongest fix to our maritime laws in a generation. Americans are facing record inflation, our bill isn’t a silver bullet, but help is on the way. I am proud to have worked on this issue for the last year with Congressman Garamendi, and I am grateful that the House and Senate came to an agreement on these important reforms to our nation’s shipping laws.”
The Ocean Shipping Reform Act will:
- Prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably refusing cargo space accommodations for U.S. exports and from discriminating against U.S. exporters;
- Promote transparency by requiring ocean common carriers to report to the FMC each calendar quarter on total import/export tonnage and twenty-foot equivalent units (loaded/empty) per vessel that makes port in the United States;
- Authorize the FMC to self-initiate investigations of ocean common carrier’s business practices and apply enforcement measures, as appropriate; and
- Establish new authority for the FMC to register shipping exchanges to improve the negotiation of service contracts [Johnson, 2022.06.13].
Limiting ocean haulers’ business decisions, increased reporting requirements, more government regulation—yup! That’s the socialism Dusty, John, and all sensible policymakers recognize is necessary to rein in predatory capitalism and make the global economy work better for South Dakota farmers and everyone else who likes to buy and sell things. Good work, comrades!