Speed Reads

Shipping Wars

These GOP senators want to exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act for good

On Thursday, President Trump temporarily waived the Jones Act for Puerto Rico in an effort to more quickly get relief supplies to the storm-battered island. Hours later, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) announced their plan to make that repeal permanent.

The Jones Act requires all maritime shipping between U.S. ports to be on American-owned and -operated ships. The 10-day waiver is aimed at facilitating hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico, after the devestation of Hurricane Maria. McCain and Lee have dubbed the nearly century-old bill outdated and are calling for its complete repeal:

In a statement, McCain called the Jones Act "an antiquated, protectionist law that has driven up costs and crippled Puerto Rico's economy." McCain first tried to repeal the act in 1998; he's now trying to make the case that a short-term exemption is "insufficient" to help Puerto Rico fully rebuild after Hurricane Maria.