Viewpoint on "A Bill To Amend the Merchant Marine Act, 1936"

B-91839: Feb 15, 1950

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GAO was asked to give its views on S. 2786, 81st Congress, entitled "A Bill to amend the Merchant Marine Act, 1936, as amended, to further promote the development and maintenance of the American merchant marine, and for other purposes." Specifically, GAO was asked to consider (1) the present financial condition of ship operators, both subsidised and non-subsidised, forming the bulwark of the American merchant marine; (2) the present need for liberalizing the provisions of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936; and (3) the administration by the Maritime Commission of existing provisions of law pertaining to the merchant marine.

GAO responded that it favors a strong, modern, privately owned American merchant marine. GAO believes the principles of the 1936 act are sound. GAO also is of the conviction that the extent to which subsidy aid should be given is a matter for Congress, and the Congress alone, to decide. GAO does not recommend against the bill, but urges that consideration be undertaken in the light of the facts discussed within the report.