Topic

Jones Act

4 petitions

Update posted 4 days ago

Petition to President of the United States, Bernie Sanders, John McCain, United Nations Security Council, U.S. House of Representatives, Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senate, Mike Lee, Luis Gutierrez, Department of Homeland Security, Bill Keating, Donald Payne, Jose Serrano, Kristen Gillibrand, Chuck Schumer, Bill Nelson, Marco Rubio, Bob Melendez, Cory Booker, Jack Reed, Mazie Hirono, Bob Casey, Dick Durbin

Exempt Puerto Rico Permanently from the Jones Act Law to rebuild and grow the economy.

One crucial and essential action that will aid long-term recovery of Puerto Rico's infrastructure and economy in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, and to foster its economic growth and sustainability, is to permanently exempt the Island from the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, known as the Jones Act. This century-old, World War I law, was passed as an effort to protect the U.S. maritime shipping industry from foreign competition. Puerto Rico is the oldest, largest, and most populous United States Island territory at the southeastern most boundary of the Nation, strategically located along the shipping lanes of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Since the Jones Act inception, in the early 1920's, this law has hindered the economic growth of the Island, while limiting its ability to participate and compete autonomously in the International arena in the Caribbean basin economy. This was a direct result of Puerto Rico being ceded to the U.S during the Spanish-American War of 1898, under the Treaty of Paris.  The Jones Act prohibits the transportation of cargo between points in the U.S., either directly or via a foreign port, or for any part of the transportation, in any vessel other than a vessel that was built, staffed and owned by American companies carrying goods between domestic ports. The Jones Act has served financially well to the U.S. monopoly of the Shipping Industry magnates, and other interested commerce. The Shipping Industry and Commerce powerful lobbying groups oppose lifting the Jones Act, for profit  making reasons.  A profit status that has not allowed Puerto Rico to enjoy autonomous economic revenue as a U.S. territory, like their fellow U.S. Virgin Islands, which have benefited of economic viability for decades by being exempt from the Jones Act.  In 2013, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York report said the Jones Act hurts Puerto Rico’s economy. It estimated that shipping costs from the U.S. East Coast to Puerto Rico are twice as that of the nearby Caribbean Islands, due to the Jones Act. The People of Puerto Rico pay twice as much for the same basic goods than their fellow Citizens in the mainland, USA. The Jones Act law places heavy tariffs on foreign ships delivering goods to the U.S. Island territory, hindering its free trade participation.  Waiving the Jones Act makes it easier for Puerto Rico to receive aid by opening up ports to any ship that can bring aid, rather than only U.S. vessels. It will protect these American citizens from gauging prices by the commerce industry that will benefit from selling their goods in rebuilding the Island of Puerto Rico after the devastation of Hurricane Maria. It will also allow Puerto Rico to participate just as like the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Northern Mariana Islands territories, which enjoy an exempt free status from this antiquated, protectionist, old colonial law.   Exempting Puerto Rico from the Jones Act, will have a two-fold benefit:   1) It will renew interest in Congress to consider viable solutions for the future autonomous economic sustainability of Puerto Rico. 2) It will provide for an opportunity to revisit the political relationship status of Puerto Rico with the United States; Whatever that future might be, a U.S. Commonwealth Territory; Statehood, or as an Independent Nation; it is up to Congress to do what is right for the American citizens of Puerto Rico.   By signing this petition, you are urging the President of the United States; U.S. Congress; U.S. House of Representative; U.S. Senate; Department of Homeland Security to exempt Puerto Rico Permanently of the Jones Act to help Puerto Rico recover, rebuild its economy, infrastructure, and future economic sustainability. Unidos Por Puerto Rico.                                                                                            United for Puerto Rico.      

Ivonne Hanks
4,424 supporters
Update posted 3 weeks ago

Petition to Department of Homeland Security, President of the United States

Waive the Jones Act for Puerto Rico to Help Rebuild its Infrastructure and Economy

Everyone has seen the unprecedented devastation in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.  The entire island is without power and thousands of Americans may die.  Many have asked how they can help.  This petition focuses on cutting through bureaucracy that could cost lives and add to the suffering of millions of Americans in Puerto Rico.  The Jones Act (Merchant Marine Act 1920, 46 U.S.C. § 883) prevents foreign ships from carrying cargo between the US mainland and noncontiguous parts of the US like Puerto Rico. Foreign ships can't stop in Puerto Rico to offload goods. Instead, goods are dropped off on the mainland and brought to the island on US flag ships. This makes everything more expensive, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, could actually cost lives. The Department of Homeland Security extended a waiver of the Jones Act to relieve PR, but the waiver expired on September 22, 2017.   I started this petition on Saturday, September 23rd.  By September 28th, this petition garnered nearly 500,000 supporters, and President Trump and DHS agreed to waive the Jones Act for 10 days.  While this is a good start, Puerto Rico will need additional time to rebuild its economy and infrastructure and should receive the benefit of foreign support.  For example, Germany has already begun assisting Puerto Rico with restoring its power grid.  By signing this petition, you are telling the Department of Homeland Security and the President of the United States to waive the Jones Act for 12 months to give Puerto Rico the relief it needs to recover and rebuild its infrastructure and economy.  

Jessica P
533,200 supporters
Started 3 weeks ago

Petition to John McCain, Mike Lee

Eliminate Jones Act once and for all!

The Jones Act has been drowning Puerto Rico's economic growth for almost a century by not allowing them to have a free-market opportunity to compete with other nations and allowing them to profit from trading goods with other countries. The law dates back to 1920 and requires all goods ferried between U.S. ports to be carried on ships built, owned and operated by Americans. And those ships are far more expensive to buy and operate than ships flying foreign flags. As a result, it makes just about everything in Puerto Rico more expensive. A 2012 study from the New York Federal Reserve found that shipping a container from the US East Coast to Puerto Rico cost $3,063. But shipping the same container on a foreign ship to the Dominican Republic nearby cost only $1,504. More broadly, the island loses $537 million per year as a result of the Jones Act, according to a different study conducted in 2010 at the University of Puerto Rico. President Trump on Wednesday noted the powerful shipping industry had lobbied against a waiver, and critics seized on that comment to suggest the White House was basing its decision what industry wanted. Recently republican Sens. John McCain and Mike Lee introduced legislation to permanently exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act shipping law which they view as protectionist and anti-competitive, driving up the costs of fuel and other important supplies such as food, clothing, and medicine. If we want Puerto Rico to have economic growth, rebuild the devastated island's infrastructure and pay off the $73 billion in debt, we must come together and let Washington know that the Jones Act must be eliminated. Please sign this petition today!

Carlos Matta
253 supporters
Update posted 4 months ago

Petition to Scott Pattison, Lolo Moliga, Rick Scott, Rick Snyder, California Governor, Jerry Brown, Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie, Greg Abbott, Bill Walker, Doug Ducey, Asa Hutchinson, John Hickenlooper, Nathan Deal, Eddie Calvo, David Ige, C.L. "Butch" Otter, Bruce Rauner, Eric Holcomb, Sam Brownback, Matt Bevin, John Bel Edwards, Iowa Governor, Connecticut Governor, Delaware Governor, Alabama Governor, Paul LePage, Larry Hogan, Charlie Baker, Mark Dayton, Phil Bryant, Eric Greitens, Steve Bullock, Pete Ricketts, Brian Sandoval, New Hampshire Governor, Susana Martinez, North Carolina Governor, Doug Burgum, John Kasich, Mary Fallin, Kate Brown, Tom Wolf, Ricardo Rossello Nevares, Gina Raimondo, Henry McMaster, Dennis Daugaard, Bill Haslam, Utah Governor, Vermont Governor, Terry McAuliffe, Kenneth Mapp, Jay Inslee, West Virginia Governor, Scott Walker, Matt Mead, Northern Mariana Islands Governor

Governors use the NGA to create awareness about the P.R. crisis.

Dear Hon. Governors, Congressman and Congresswomen: As you may have read or seen in the newspapers and social media, Puerto Rico is going through a very tough time. Part of the problem is that Puerto Rico has never had any solvency because it was transferred from Spain to the United States and since then, its rights to be an independent country were cut short and amputated. Today there are over 5 million Puerto Ricans is USA (http://www.pewhispanic.org/2015/09/15/hispanics-of-puerto-rican-origin-in-the-united-states-2013/ ), and there are over one million of Puerto Ricans in Florida alone. (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/10/30/in-a-shift-away-from-new-york-more-puerto-ricans-head-to-florida/ ) We need our elected officials to take Puerto Rico's situation seriously. It is irrelevant if you are for their independence, statehood or ELA status. You must act in support of stopping the impending humanitarian crisis that is about to take over the islands (1) as a result of Promesa Law (https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/2328 ) and the Financial Oversight and Management Board imposed by the US Congress to Puerto Rico. https://juntasupervision.pr.gov/index.php/en/home/ After over 500 years of colonialism, Puerto Rico is at a breaking point, and it is the responsibility of USA to take care of the debt. Why? In part, because of the Paris Agreement of 1898 that gave Puerto Rico to the USA after the Hispanic-American War. In that agreement, Cuba was granted its independence, in part, because the USA reputed Cuba's debt as Spain's debt. It was stipulated then, that the imperial ruler had to take care of the colony financial burdens and this was one of the reasons why Spain had to let go of Cuba and USA could not acquire it, this is now called the Odious Debt. (https://www.brookings.edu/articles/odious-debt-when-dictators-borrow-who-repays-the-loan/ https://www.brookings.edu/research/odious-debt/ ) Also, there are historical records that show President McKinley was for that ruling: "The American negotiators telegraphed President McKinley to ask his opinion. He responded by making it clear that the United States would not agree to take on any Cuban debt and would not encourage Cuba to agree to do so." (See the link to read the complete article http://www.cadtm.org/The-USA-s-repudiation-of-the-debt If the USA does not want to solve the debt issue, it needs to then, audit the debt and remove the illegally disbursed funds and illegally approved loans from the amount of Puerto Rico’s national debt. What can local and state US elected officials do? Reach out to the Puerto Rican community and listen to our requests for our compatriots and US citizens to be treated with dignity and respect. Move those requests into action and help your constituents by helping their families in Puerto Rico. Local and state elected officials can call unto their national elected representatives' counterparts and raise awareness about the precarious situation that these USA citizens endure in the Islands. Use your membership in the National Governors Association to bring awareness to this issue and request the same from your colleagues.  (1)    As a way of clarification, here are the Islands that are part of Puerto Rico: Vieques, Culebra, Mona, Monito, Desecheo, Caja de Muertos and many other cays, islets, and atolls that are natural reserves. It is also important to recognize that those natural reserves must be taken care of and not polluted, which has not been the case with Vieques and Culebra. These are spaces that the US Navy used as target practice and left them contaminated after they left. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_islands_of_Puerto_Rico ) Respectfully, The Puerto Rican diaspora community of Florida and all of those who stand in solidarity with us.

María Torres-López
94 supporters