Yesterday, the Senate passed legislation to clear the way for the Delta Queen, a U.S. National Historic Landmark, to once again carry passengers on overnight trips on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Portman praised this vote, and delivered remarks on the Senate floor to discuss the importance of the Delta Queen to his hometown of Cincinnati and urge the House to act on this bill.

A transcript of the speech can be found below and you can watch the video here.

“Mr. President, I also want to talk briefly if I could about the legislation we just passed. It’s S. 89 and it’s about the Delta Queen. The Delta Queen is a wooden ship that is very important to my community of Cincinnati. It’s part of our Queen City heritage. It was actually in Cincinnati during my childhood, and from 1946 until 1985, it called Cincinnati home. And it’s a beautiful paddle wheeler and people love to get on it and go down the Mississippi River. It’s no longer docked in Cincinnati, which is why the folks in Missouri were interested in this legislation tonight too. We just had a big vote, over 80 votes in favor of simply saying for the first time since 2008 let’s allow people to spend the night on this boat and go overnight on this boat despite the fact that there is legislation called the 1966 Safety at Sea law which prohibits wooden boats of a certain size from carrying overnight passengers. 

“Let’s make an exception here because the Delta Queen is willing to undergo the kind of renovations that are necessary to make it safe. It also requires new safety requirements for the Delta Queen going forward. And so I really appreciate the fact that this vote was taken tonight. It is about a treasured part of our history. It’s also about the economy because it will produce tourism and economic advancements all along the river everywhere it stops including in my hometown of Cincinnati where we’re going to welcome the Delta Queen back if this legislation can be enacted into law. It’s now going over to the House. It’s in committee there. We’re hopeful that the House will do as the Senate did tonight and pass this legislation. This is my button. It says ‘Save the Delta Queen’ that I’m not permitted to wear on the floor of the Senate because of the rules. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care. I thank my colleagues tonight for helping us to be able to get this legislation through.”

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