Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rosello is hoping the federal government will waive the Jones Act

Reporting by Jake Gibson

Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rosello is hoping the federal government will waive the Jones Act, which would lift some restrictions on ships providing aid to the island which is now facing a potential humanitarian crisis in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Department of Homeland Security officials refute what they call erroneous reports that the department has rejected a waiver request. Rather, the Department of Homeland Security is presently reviewing a waiver request submitted by eight members of congress, led by Nydia Velazquez (D-NY).

However, DHS officials also tell us that the current situation is having, “no impact on our ability to deliver supplies,” to Puerto Rico.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has also been outspoken about the need for the federal government to push besides the Jones Act in this situation, however we know of no official request from the Arizona Senator’s office.

The issue seems to be that if the Jones Act were waived the price of some goods might come down.

However, DHS officials point out that the only reason the department can issue a waiver is, “in the interest of national defense.” They add that if congress wants to change that law, they should go ahead and do so. “We don’t have the authority to issue a waiver simply to lower costs.”

A waiver was granted to lift the Jones Act during the days immediately following Hurricane Harvey. That was in response to a request from the Department of Defense, which has not requested a waiver in the case of Puerto Rico.

Part of the requirements for DHS to issue a waiver would be, “insufficient US-flagged vessel capability.” However, DHS officials tell Fox News, “There not presently a lack of availability of US-flagged vessels,” at this point.

A decision from DHS could be coming before the end of the week.