rss icon Subscribe
desktop mobile

McCain Pushes Jones Act Exemption for Puerto Rico Again

U.S. Senator John McCain

Posted by Joseph Keefe

U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Mike Lee (R-UT) this week introduced legislation that would permanently exempt Puerto Rico from the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, or the Jones Act, to aid recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Maria and encourage long-term economic growth.
The Trump administration's 10-day Jones Act waiver for Puerto Rico, despite the presence of more than enough U.S. flag tonnage to handle any and all relief sealift needs, gave McCain the opening he needed to reintroduce legislation that he has, on many prior occasions, brought to the Senate.
The Jones Act requires that all goods shipped between waterborne ports of the United States be carried by vessels built in the United States and owned and operated by Americans.
"While I welcome the Trump administration's Jones Act waiver for Puerto Rico, this short-term, 10-day exemption is insufficient to help the people of Puerto Rico recover and rebuild from Hurricane Maria," said Senator McCain. "Our legislation would permanently exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act, an antiquated, protectionist law that has driven up costs and crippled Puerto Rico's economy. For years, I have fought to fully repeal the Jones Act, which has long outlived its purpose to the benefit of special interests. It's time for Congress to take action, end this injustice, and help our fellow citizens in this time of need."
Separately, U.S. flag interests and Jones Act operators have spoken out against the proposed legislation. The domestic U.S. merchant fleet consists of approximately 40,000 hulls of every shape, size and type. Supporting that fleet are 124 active shipyards in 26 states employing 110,000 workers, producing $9.2 billion in labor income, and $10.7 billion in gross domestic product, or GDP, to the national economy. According to the U.S. Maritime Administration, economic activity associated with the industry reached 399,420 jobs, $25.1 billion of labor income, and $37.3 billion in GDP in 2013 alone. More than 210,000 American credentialed mariners man those 40,000 hulls. McCain's latest proposals threaten to dismantle all of of it.
McCain has for decades working to repeal the Jones Act. In 1998, Senator McCain sponsored legislation that was signed into law to provide an administrative process for obtaining a Jones Act waiver for certain foreign vessels to trade between U.S. ports, eliminating the previous requirement for Congress to pass legislation for every waiver. In 2010, Senator McCain introduced legislation to fully repeal the Jones Act. He reintroduced the same piece of legislation in 2015 and again this July.

Earlier this week, Senator McCain sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke urging the department to waive the Jones Act for Puerto Rico to aid recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Oct 5, 2017

 

Casualties

Argentinean Sub Chased by Helicopter before Vanishing

File photo: TR-1700 Class submarines San Juan and Santa Cruz (Photo: Martín Otero - Base Naval Mar del Plata (BNMP))

A family member of one of the sailors aboard missing Argentinean submarine ARA San Juan is

Force Majeure Declared on Some North Sea Liftings

Pipeline shut on Dec. 11; repair work could last several weeks.   Deliveries of crude oil through the Forties pipeline in the North Sea are under force majeure for the first time

Overconfidence, Poor Training Sank El Faro: NTSB Report

(Photo: NTSB)

The sinking of the U.S. freighter El Faro in 2015 with the loss of 33 lives came after an

Finance

Skuld Bottom-line Up 68.7%

Image: SKULD Logo

Marine insurer Skuld ended the first nine months of the 2017/18 reporting year (as at 20

S&P Revises Hapag-Lloyd’s Rating Outlook to Stable

Photo: Hapag-Lloyd

Corporate Credit Rating agency Standard & Poor's has affirmed at B+. The rating agency

US Oil Drillers Cut Rigs for First Week in Six

© Plysiuk Volodymyr / Adobe Stock

U.S. energy companies this week cut oil rigs for the first time in six weeks in spite of prices

Maritime Apps