Today, I introduced along with United States Senator Mike Lee legislation that would permanently exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act to aid recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Maria and encourage long-term economic growth.
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. Shipping costs from the United States mainland to Puerto Rico have been estimated to be twice as much as from neighboring foreign islands.
As a strong supporter of free trade, I have been working for years to reform and repeal the archaic and burdensome Jones Act. It remains unacceptable to force the people of Puerto Rico to pay at least twice as much for food, clean drinking water, supplies and infrastructure due to Jones Act requirements as they work to recover from this disaster. I urge the Department of Homeland Security to permanently waive the Jones Act for Puerto Rico.