TUPELO • Both Mississippi United States senators sat in on a closed door meeting with President Donald Trump over shipping regulations.

Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, both Republicans, were among lawmakers lobbying the president to maintain Jones Act regulations requiring that U.S. flagged vessels must be used to transport goods between U.S. ports.

Other lawmakers present at Wednesday’s meeting included the senators from the states of Louisiana and Alaska, and a House of Representatives member from Louisiana.

Wicker chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Following Thursday’s meeting, Wicker praised Trump’s reported decision to leave Jones Act regulations untouched.

“I organized this meeting today with President @realDonaldTrump and am very pleased with the result,” Wicker said on Twitter. “The President’s decision to maintain the #JonesAct is a victory for American jobs and national security.”

Shipbuilding is a significant industry on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.

The nearly 100-year old Jones Act requires that the transportation of cargo over water between United States destinations must be done with vessels domestically built and owned.

Trump partially waived the restrictions in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017, to aid recovery efforts.

However, the White House had considered more sweeping efforts to weaken Jones Act regulations with waivers. Supporters of such a policy say it would lead to cheaper natural gas, especially in parts of the country lacking pipeline infrastructure.

Opponents of Jones Act waivers say the policy helps maintain the U.S. shipbuilding industry and serves a national security purpose.

caleb.bedillion@journalinc.com Twitter: @CalebBedillion

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