Repeal Jones Act an antiquated law in Puerto Rico
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The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 - also known as the Jones Act. Is currently affecting any aide as well as the economy of the island of Puerto Rico.
This act was created almost a hundred years ago during WWI and it states that for any delivery to take place through port it must be carried out exclusively by vessels built, owned and operated by American citizens. Ships must first come to the mainland US and then shipped to the non-continuos part of the US.
The island is currently in the verge of facing a humanitarian crisis after being affected by the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria. Basic needs such as food, water are scarce as well as gasoline and relief supplies are not being delivered. The Jones Act only delays any relief efforts greatly.
Although President Trump has stated "Puerto Rico has been oblilerated" all efforts are stalled and a request to have the Jones Act waived have been denied. Although the government recently waived those rules in Texas after Hurricane Harvey and Florida after Hurricane Irma.
Repealing the Jones Act will assist in the rebuilding of Puerto Rico as well as assisting the 3.4 million citizens affected, the ability of free trade would greatly reduce the cost of living in the island. Cost of living at this time is 13% higher than 325 other urban areas in the US, yet per capita income in Puerto Rico is only $18,000 yearly, close to half of the current income in Mississippi the poorest of all 50 states.
Puerto Rico is currently facing 17 billion dollar in debt and in great part this is blamed on the effects of the Jones Act. Consumers must pay punitive tariffs, taxes and fees when any foreign vessel enters the island or faced with rerouting fees when transfers must take place through the mainland.
Senator John McCain refers to the Jones Act as "an antiquated law that has far too long hindered free trade, making the US industry less competitive and raised prices for American consumers".
Please assist us in reaching out Defense Secretary James Mattis 703-571-3343 and requesting to appeal or in the least modify the Jones Act to assist in being able to rebuild.
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