Trump Waives Jones Act Amid Puerto Rico's Food And Water Crisis

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Two Republican senators have introduced legislation to permanently exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act, a previously obscure law that requires that goods shipped between USA ports be carried by us -flagged vessels. "It will go into effect immediately", she said. Reinstalling a power grid, along with housing rehabilitation and basic supplies, on a poor, isolated island that relied on tourism and agriculture, will require direct and consistent attention. Because it's an island, many lifesaving supplies will arrive by boat.

But both sides of Congress urged Mr Trump to agree to lift the ban, saying it would speed up and lower the cost of the recovery.

While delivering aid Wednesday in the southern town of Salinas, Rossello told reporters "This is the single biggest, major catastrophe in the history of Puerto Rico, bar none, and it is probably the biggest hurricane catastrophe in the United States".

But for the people of Puerto Rico - where much of the island's infrastructure has been destroyed, leaving many homeless and without potable water - disaster relief can't come soon enough.

The decision to forgo the act came after critics blasted Washington for not immediately lifting the obscure and almost 100-year-old law that requires all goods ferried between USA ports to be carried on ships built, owned and operated by Americans.

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The Trump administration waived the act after recent hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which battered Florida and Texas. The Department of Homeland Security said it was able to lift the restrictions quickly because the Department of Defense requested a waiver for those states and the department hadn't yet done so for Puerto Rico. Food and water are in short supply.

Waterbury schools are getting ready to welcome students from Puerto Rico. "You have to remember that not only did Irma come through and create quite a bit of damage and destruction that we were working to fix, but Maria was. one of the strongest storms that Puerto Rico's seen since the 20's and let's face it, the infrastructure is weak and there were no building codes and so there is a lot of devastation and we understand that". But if you want send cargo by ship, according to the Jones Act, the ship has to be American made.

Image copyright Getty Images How bad is the situation on Puerto Rico?

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in a tweet, noted that the administration "has finally waived" the Jones Act.