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Save Puerto Rico! Eliminate The Jones Act

Save Puerto Rico! Eliminate The Jones Act”

Lawmakers in Congress since Monday have been pushing for a one-year waiver from the rules in order to help speed up deliveries of food, fuel and other critical supplies to Puerto Rico, which has been battered by two hurricanes in the last month.

He joined the growing list of officials who argued that lifting the the Jones Act - a federal law created to protect the financial interests of United States shipbuilders by limiting shipping by foreign vessels - would help expedite supplies to the ravaged island.

Earlier Thursday, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said he had asked the White House to loosen the regulations.

In the wake of the devastation in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz - along with other U.S. politicians, including McCain and Marco Rubio, R-Florida - had urged the suspension of the Jones Act in order to speed up supply deliveries. "Our legislation would permanently exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act, an antiquated, protectionist law that has driven up costs and crippled Puerto Rico's economy". Republican Sen. John McCain has also called for the act to be scrapped.

Pressure on Trump to waive the law had been increasing since reports of Puerto Rico's devastation began gaining traction.

"And they all support at least a temporary waiver of the Jones Act so that not only from US maritime ships but from anybody that can bring help", he said. As we said, Congress should pass it, and Trump should sign it.

The Jones Act limits shipping between coasts to US flagged vessels.

The administration faced fierce backlash for not immediately lifting the law for Puerto Rico after it issued a two-week waiver for Texas and Florida in response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The Department of Homeland Security, which waived the act after hurricanes Harvey and Irma, did not agree an exemption would help this time.

"Well, we're thinking about that, but we have a lot of shippers and a lot of people and a lot of people who work in the shipping industry that don't want the Jones Act lifted", he told reporters at the White House, adding that there were "a lot of ships out there right now".

"I have no jurisdiction over those ports", Cruz said. "Most of the humanitarian shipments will be through barges, which make up a significant portion (along with tugs) of the US-flagged cargo fleet". McCain wrote in a letter to DHS Tuesday. "Now, more than ever, it is time to realize the devastating effect of this policy and implement a full repeal of this archaic and burdensome act". Defenders of the law insist it remains vital to national security, noting that it supports and ensures a vital USA shipbuilding industry.



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