President Trump lifts law blocking aid to Puerto Rico

President Trump lifts law blocking aid to Puerto Rico

On Thursday the White House authorized a 10-day waiver of the Jones Act, a federal law that limits shipping to United States ports by foreign vessels.

Sanders said President Donald Trump had authorized a waiver to the Jones Act for Puerto Rico that would be effective "immediately".

By waiving the law, restrictions are lifted on ships that are able to provide aid to the island, which sustained massive amounts of damage by Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo Rossello, had said Wednesday that he expected the waiver, which suspends a 1920 law requiring that only American-flagged vessels be used for shipments between two USA ports.

Also complicating clean-up on the island is its precarious economy, damaged by overspending and teetering near bankruptcy - and some say due in part to the Jones Act, which makes it more expensive for Puerto Rico to receive USA products. "Much food and water there/on way", he tweeted Tuesday, later adding, "We will get through this TOGETHER!"

The Trump administration had said a waiver was not needed for Puerto Rico because there were enough US -flagged ships available to ferry goods to the island.

The department said then that there were sufficient ships available to meet the need. Kaitlyn Lahm, spokesperson for Samaritan's Purse, said the plane landed on Sunday with supplies for 6,000 families and returned with more supplies to reach another 1,500 households yesterday.

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The $40 million in "quick release" funds is meant to restore essential traffic on Puerto Rico's roads and limit further damage, in order to facilitate long-term fix work and recovery efforts.

Another relative success story is Elpidio Fernandez, a 78-year-old who sells coconut and passion fruit ice cream from a pushcart on the streets of San Juan and has a supplier with a generator.

The waiver, which will be in force for 10 days and will cover all products shipped to Puerto Rico, was signed on Thursday morning by acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, the DHS said in a statement.

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency said by Wednesday that it had delivered more than 4.4 million meals and 6.5 million liters of water in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands since Maria ravaged the Caribbean. "And we have a lot of ships out there right now". "The people of Puerto Rico should not have any fear that there is not going to be food or medicine on the island", Crowley Maritime Vice President of Puerto Rico Services Jose Ayala told the WSJ.

Rubio said the Trump administration is concerned about victims on the island.

"A foreign relief shipment to Puerto Rico, they have two choices", said Scott Miller, an global trade expert with the Center for Strategic & worldwide Studies. John McCain, R-Ariz., has been leading the charge to get rid of it.

"I know there can be more help", said Juan Cruz as he filled a container.

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