Senator John McCain Urges DHS to Waive the Archaic Jones Act for Puerto Rico to Aid Hurricane Recovery Efforts

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Elaine Duke today urging the department to waive the Jones Act for Puerto Rico to aid recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Maria. The Jones Act requires that all goods shipped between waterborne ports of the United States be carried by vessels built in the United States and owned and operated by Americans. Shipping costs from the United States mainland to Puerto Rico have been estimated to be twice as much as from neighboring foreign islands.

In the letter, Senator McCain also asks DHS to assess how a long-term waiver or full repeal of the Jones Act would impact recovery efforts of hurricane-damaged communities, including in Florida and Texas.

“The Department of Homeland Security has been given the ability to waive the Jones Act to accommodate national security concerns, and has done so twice in the last month,” writes Senator McCain. “These emergency waivers have been valuable to speed up recovery efforts in the impacted regions. However, I am very concerned by the Department’s decision not to waive the Jones Act for current relief efforts in Puerto Rico, which is facing a worsening humanitarian crisis following Hurricane Maria. It is unacceptable to force the people of Puerto Rico to pay at least twice as much for food, clean drinking water, supplies and infrastructure due to Jones Act requirements as they work to recover from this disaster. 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.”

Senator McCain has been working for years to reform and repeal the Jones Act. He first introduced legislation to repeal the Jones Act in the Senate in the 111th Congress in 2010, and mostly recently this July.

Read more of this press release by Senator John McCain by clicking here.

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