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Trump waives United States shipping restrictions for Puerto Rico: spokeswoman

29 September 2017

The Trump administration announced Thursday that it has temporarily waived a USA shipping restriction for Puerto Rico known as the Jones Act. That will help Puerto Rico recover after being walloped by Hurricane Maria.

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

The Jones Act, passed by Congress in 1920 and signed by President Woodrow Wilson, requires that all ships traveling between American ports must be USA flagged ships - even if they are not the most readily available.

Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo Rossello, had sought a waiver of the Jones Act, which limits shipping between USA ports to US owned-and-operated vessels, to ensure there was no impediment to bringing in supplies.

Rossello had asked Trump to temporarily waive the law as the island seeks food, water and other supplies following widespread devastation from Hurricane Maria.

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke said the waiver will be in effect for 10 days and will cover all products being shipped to Puerto Rico, according to a release from the department.

Critics had noted that he waived shipping restrictions much more quickly following hurricanes that hit recently in Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

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The storm, which also hit St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, killed more than 30 people across the Caribbean, including at least 15 in Puerto Rico.

Apparently stung by the criticisms, administration officials have emphasized the complexity of delivering aid to the island. That order included Puerto Rico, but expired last week shortly after Maria struck.

Scott's office announced the trip with a brief statement Wednesday evening, noting that his visit comes "at the request of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló".

Ayala said the company can't get enough truck drivers or trucks filled up with diesel to pick up supplies for distribution across the island. Yet, what I also saw was inspiring.

And it gives his opponents another data point to use when they accuse Trump of being more empathetic to the plights of people who look like him.

He says the priority now is the humanitarian and rescue mission in Puerto Rico.

Reports of isolated us citizens struggling in the heat without electricity and running low on food and water have now spurred the Pentagon to throw resources into the relief effort even though they haven't been specifically requested by territorial officials.

Trump waives United States shipping restrictions for Puerto Rico: spokeswoman