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Repeal The Jones Act to help rebuild and help US Territories stabilize

This petition had 122 supporters

The Jones Act— the Merchant Marine Act of 1920—has had TERRIBLE financial impacts on trade to US Territories and many other port cities and islands within the United States and its territories.

The Jones Act requires that all ships traveling between U.S. ports be made, owned, and crewed by Americans. So a ship from another country, or whose owners are from another country, cannot travel from port to port within the United States delivering or picking up goods.

Fortunately the Department of Homeland Security has recognized this problem and has waived the Jones Act for fuel shipping for the time being. But given the tremendous amount of devastation US Territories in the Caribbean face, the costs that are going to be involved in recovering, and the already poor financial state of the island, there has never been a better time to dump the Jones Act entirely.

The Jones Act exists to boost the American shipping industry. It has long contributed to the dramatic costs of shipping to Puerto Rico. A New York Fed report from 2012 shows that it costs twice as much to ship something from a port in the U.S. mainland to Puerto Rico as it does to ship to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic nearby. There are only a handful of Jones Act–compliant options, and that lack of competition allows U.S. shippers to charge much higher prices.

People who think the government should intervene to stop price-gouging during a disaster should know the Jones Act practically facilitates it and makes recovery all the more expensive. 

During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the government...refused to issue Jones Act waivers so foreign vessels could aid in the cleanup and containment. Despite several offers for foreign assistance during an ongoing ecological disaster, the government cited the Jones Act to justify turning them away. Many suspect that the Obama administration was reluctant to go against the pro-Jones Act labor unions (tr. every labor union) he needed to cement his re-election. It's not a leap to say that such cronyism may have delayed the eventual resolution of the spill.

In response to US Territories in the Caribbean's current crisis, its rules should be waived for all shipping to US Territories in the Caribbean for the foreseeable future, not just for shipping fuel. "You're looking at a clear and avoidable economic burden being placed on the US Territories in the Caribbean" .



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