Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Reps. Hunter and Garamendi Raise Concerns Over the Trump Administration’s Decision to Waive the Jones Act

September 28, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC –Today, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and John Garamendi (D-CA), Chairman and Ranking Member respectively of the Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, raised concerns over the Trump Administration’s decision to issue a 10-day waiver of the Jones Act to allegedly improve the flow of relief shipments into Puerto Rico. The Jones Act requires that goods traveling between U.S. ports of call be carried on U.S.-made and U.S.-flagged ships and manned by American crews.  Contrary to many published reports, adequate domestic shipping capability exists, and waiving the Jones Act requirement will not speed up relief for Puerto Rico.

“Shipping carriers that comply with the Jones Act have more than enough capacity for a robust relief effort for Puerto Rico,” said Ranking Member Garamendi. “Getting relief to the island isn’t the problem. The challenge is in getting relief off the docks. Right now, 6,000 containers full of everything the island needs are languishing on the docks in Puerto Rico because there are no trucks available to distribute them. The entire American maritime industry has done outstanding work to coordinate with local governments to provide relief. The Jones Act is essential to maintain a robust shipbuilding industry and sealift capacity, and waiving it will not help solve Puerto Rico’s problems.”

“The Jones Act is about making sure our nation has the domestic capability to move troops and supplies in times of war,“ said Chairman Hunter.  “It’s about ensuring that our country maintains a strong manufacturing base with good well-paying jobs.  Foreign and corporate interests have long opposed the Jones Act and have spread fake news that the law is a hindrance to Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts.  What is clear from our listening session this morning is that Jones Act vessels can provide the needed capacity to bring aid to Puerto Rico, and they stand willing and able to do so.  Waiving the Jones Act will do nothing to speed up much needed aid to Puerto Rico’s residents.  I hope the Administration will reconsider the facts and rescind its temporary waiver.”

Hunter and Garamendi held a listening session Thursday morning with other members of the Maritime Transportation Committee and representatives from the American maritime industry to explore this issue in depth. An archived stream of the event is available here.