Rubio, Scott and Sullivan Introduce Bill to Force the CDC to Act
The CDC continues to ignore the cruise industry and elected officials.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Rick Scott, Dan Sullivan and Marco Rubio 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. Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar is leading this legislation in the House of Representatives. In March, Senator Scott sent a letter to Jeffrey Zients, the White House COVID Response Coordinator, urging the Biden Administration to immediately issue clear guidance for the resumption of operations for the cruise industry. The CDC still has not responded to his letter or provided the cruise line industry with a timeline of when they can begin sailing, which is urgently needed. Senator Scott also introduced the Set Sail Safely Act last year, which would establish a Maritime Task Force, in coordination with a Private Sector Advisory Committee, to address the health, safety, security, and logistical changes needed to allow for cruise lines and ports to resume operations. Senator Rick Scott said, “Florida is a tourism state with thousands of jobs relying on the success of our ports, cruise lines and maritime industries. While many sectors of the economy have been safely operating for months under CDC guidelines, Floridians, and those across the nation that rely on the cruise industry for work, continue to wait for updated guidance from the CDC. The CDC's refusal to properly address this shutdown is wrong and it’s time to get the cruise lines open safely. Our bill, the CRUISE Act, says we’re not waiting on the CDC any longer. Cruises can and should resume, and we’re going to do everything we can to bring back our cruise industry safely.” Senator Dan Sullivan said, “Unlike the airlines, rail, and other modes of transportation—and all other sectors of the hospitality industry for that matter—the cruise lines have been denied clear direction from the CDC on how to resume operations. As a result, potential cruises this summer, when the President said the country will be able to return to normal with more and more Americans getting vaccinated, have been left adrift. The foot-dragging, mixed messages, and unresponsiveness of CDC leaders is totally unacceptable and ultimately endangering the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Americans and the hundreds of small businesses across Alaska that rely on the tourism sector. My legislation with Senators Scott and Rubio will accomplish what letters, meetings, and repeated phone calls have not—directing the CDC to finally codify timely guidance and a plan for cruise ships to safely and responsibly welcome passengers again this summer.” Senator Marco Rubio said, “The benefits of cruise operations are integral to the economies of Florida’s port cities. Floridians and many other Americans who are employed by ports, cruise operators, or work in hospitality jobs near cruise terminals face an uncertain future because of the CDC’s unresponsiveness to requests for guidance by stakeholder groups. I am proud to join Senators Sullivan and Scott in introducing legislation that would require the CDC to provide guidance to safely resume operations this summer, and allow Florida’s economy to recover even further.” Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar said, “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. 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.”