The White House announced Thursday that President Trump has waived the Jones Act at the request of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello. The 1920 law requires all maritime traffic between U.S. ports to be on U.S.-built ships owned primarily by U.S. companies and staffed by a U.S. crew, and Democrats and some Republicans have argued it was hindering relief efforts to the storm-damaged territory.
Trump said Wednesday that he was hesitant to lift the Jones Act because "we have a lot of shippers and a lot of people ... who work in the shipping industry that don't want the Jones Act lifted." The administration nevertheless suspended the Jones Act after Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida.
An estimated 44 percent of people in Puerto Rico remain without drinking water a week after Hurricane Maria and the cost of damage to the island is estimated to potentially exceed $20 billion.