Trump waives Jones Act shipping restrictions for hurricane-battered Puerto Rico

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warming Americans that Hurricane's Maria's devastation in Puerto Rico could cause a "critical" drug shortage.

The Jones Act is a century-old law that requires all goods shipped between US ports be carried on USA owned-and-operated ships and has been central to the criticism around the pace of the response to the crisis in Puerto Rico. The island relies heavily on ports.

The presenter of the video said the hospital she was in had "no water, no cash", and added that "the hospital is completely full with no generators, so they have open windows".

Scott spoke by phone on Wednesday with both Rosselló and Puerto Rico Congresswoman Jennifer González-Colón, as well as directors at Port Everglades, PortMiami and Port Canaveral.

Nydia Velazquez, a New York Democrat who was born in Puerto Rico, also urged Mr Trump to approve a waiver saying the disaster could prove to be "his Hurricane Katrina".

Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump was responding to a request from Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello, and that the waiver would go into effect immediately.

The U.S. government has periodically lifted the Jones Act for a temporary period following violent storms, including after hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which hit Texas and Florida in late August and earlier this month.

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A Rhode Island congressman took to the U.S. House floor Wednesday to implore President Donald Trump and Congress to speed up aid to Puerto Rico following last week's disastrous hurricane.

The Department of Homeland Security had said as recently as Monday that the law would not be suspended.

"It is meant to ensure we have enough fuel and commodities to support lifesaving efforts, respond to the storm, and restore critical services and critical infrastructure operations in the wake of these devastating storms", Duke said.

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.

"We have to have the Jones Act permanently repealed, they just gave it a 10-day waiver", McCain said.

He says the priority now is the humanitarian and rescue mission in Puerto Rico. "We have no idea of the full magnitude.Nothing good happens after eight days in the tropics without food or water".

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in a tweet, noted that the administration "has finally waived" the Jones Act.