Trump 'thinking about' lifting Jones Act to help Puerto Rico

Trump 'thinking about' lifting Jones Act to help Puerto Rico
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President Trump said Wednesday that he is "thinking about" lifting the rule barring foreign-flagged vessels from delivering goods between American ports to help hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico despite pressure from the shipping industry.

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"Well we're thinking about [temporarily lifting the Jones Act]," Trump told reporters before stepping aboard Marine One, "but we have a lot of shippers, and a lot of people, and a lot of people who work in the shipping industry that don't want the Jones Act lifted."

"And we have a lot of ships out there right now," Trump added.

Trump also told reporters that Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo Rosselló, and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz were "very generous" on Tuesday with their statements praising the administration's efforts to aid the island, which he pointed to as evidence that his administration is on top of recovery efforts.

"I will tell you, the governor was very generous yesterday with his statements, and so was the mayor of San Juan," Trump said. "We have a lot of people, and I'm going there on Tuesday as you probably have heard."

"Puerto Rico is a very difficult situation," Trump added. "I mean, that place was just destroyed. That's not a question of 'gee let's dry up the water, let's do this or that,' I mean that place was flattened."

Senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security said early Wednesday that there is no shortage of U.S.-flagged vessels to deliver aid to Puerto Rico and the neighboring U.S. Virgin Islands.

“As based upon our current conversations, there is not a lack of vessels to move the goods that we need to support the humanitarian relief efforts,” an official told reporters Wednesday.

Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are rebuilding after two category 4 hurricanes struck earlier this month. Local government officials say Puerto Rico is on the verge of a humanitarian disaster, and estimate the island could be without power for up to six months.