White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted Thursday morning that President Donald Trump has decided to waive shipping restrictions in the Jones Act in order to allow aid to get to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) September 28, 2017
The Jones Act requires items shipped between U.S. ports to be on American-flagged vessels with American crews, which has made the cost of receiving supplies unbearably high for the island commonwealth. As LawNewz editor Colin Kalmbacher explained on Wednesday, the 100-year-old law doesn’t completely ban foreign ships, but it does impose fees and bureaucratic restrictions on them. With several foreign countries offering to send aid to Puerto Rico, the Jones Act was getting in the way. Trump had previously waived these restrictions when Texas and Florida needed aid after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma over the summer.
Trump’s decision came at the behest of Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello, but others pushed for it as well. Notably, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) criticized the administration for not taking action that would save Puerto Rico money and bring much-needed help to American citizens.
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