The White House has let the Jones Act Waiver Expire
The White House refuses to continue to waive the Jones Act, which would greatly benefit the people of Puerto Rico. If you’re unfamiliar with the Jones Act, it bars foreign-flagged vessels from entering two US ports consecutively. So, for example, a ship registered in Liberia can dock in San Juan, or in Miami, but not Miami and then San Juan.
Importantly, they also can’t deliver aid to multiple ports within Puerto Rico, nor deliver aid to Puerto Rico after having completed an unrelated docking elsewhere in the US. So, for example, if a ship from Asia docks in the Port of Houston to deliver cars or clothes or something manufactured abroad, they might well be passing right by Puerto Rico on their way back around the Horn of Africa, and they might well be mostly empty just dead-heading back to Asia. Sounds like a great chance to load it up with supplies and drop off in PR before carrying on, right? Not under the Jones Act. Or if a foreign ship is headed to Miami to drop off unrelated goods and also wants to carry relief/aid supplies to Puerto Rico on the same trip, no dice. Only one or the other is allowed.
Foreign vessels can provide aid, but the Jones Act makes it more difficult to do so.
The president has shown his cards, so-to-speak, on this issue, revealing that it is pressure from importers that benefit from the Jones act that has caused the U.S. not to provide the same waiver it did for Florida.
This is amidst a growing need for supplies in Puerto Rico after the wake of recent hurricanes. A video posted on twitter of some kind-hearted veterans who are attempting to help in Puerto Rico paints a pretty grim picture:
1) This is a former Staff Sergeant and Calvary Scout. He is in Puerto Rico. He's telling you the truth. FEMA and POTUS are lying to us. pic.twitter.com/G4u617KW2P
— Lucian (@LucianRandolph) October 9, 2017