Jones Act Waived for Disaster Relief in Puerto Rico

President Donald Trump waived laws forbidding foreign ships from transporting goods between USA ports and Puerto Rico Thursday.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a Twitter post that Trump, at the request of Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello, "has authorized the Jones Act be waived for Puerto Rico".

On Thursday the Trump administration announced it was waiving the Jones Act, a little-known federal law that prohibits foreign-flagged ships from shuttling goods between US ports, for Puerto Rico.

The roughly 100-year-old Jones Act requires goods shipped between American ports to travel on USA -flagged ships with American crews. The lack of electricity has also hugely impacted Puerto Rico's clean water supply, and many areas now have no or very limited access.

A week after Maria, many hospitals are still shut down and the few that are open are operating with just emergency generator power. Trucks should be showing up to pick up the supplies, but the roads are so wrecked and fuel is so low that they're having trouble getting any at all.

"We can use more help", Cruz said.

The waiver will guarantee the needed equipment to fix infrastructure damaged by the storm and restore emergency services, Duke said in a news release.

USA banks should waive customer fees, ease credit card limits and allow borrowers to make late payments on the islands affected by Hurricane Maria, a top banking regulator said on Wednesday. Maria struck after the infamous Hurricane Irma, and the two combined to cause widespread, catastrophic damage. But the scope of the devastation is so broad, and the relief effort so concentrated in San Juan, that many people from outside the capital say they have received little to no help.

President Trump was criticised for spending the weekend focusing on a feud with National Football League players and coaches, instead of the Puerto Rico disaster.

"No food, no water, no power, no medical care for the dying", it reads.

Cruzita Mojica is an employee of the Puerto Rico Treasury Department in San Juan. "Right now we are dealing with a crisis, so we need Congress and we need the president to step up".

Trump on Wednesday acknowledged his administration is considering lifting the Jones Act to speed up aid to the island.

"If we don't get help, something is going to happen that will be a long-term problem for Puerto Rico".

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in a tweet, noted that the administration "has finally waived" the Jones Act. "Aid hasn't come yet and some people have been stuck at the airport, trying to leave with no place to go, and they have not have food or water in days", he said.

"No, I'm not satisfied because the fact is, is that we will not be satisfied until we stabilize the situation, which is why we work day in and day out, hour after hour, to try to alleviate the situation", he said.

  • Joey Payne