October 6, 2017 / 9:45 PM / a year ago

Congresswoman urges Trump to extend Puerto Rico Jones Act waiver

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Nydia Velazquez urged President Donald Trump to extend a waiver on shipping limitations for hurricane-battered Puerto Rico on Friday, two days before the 10-day measure was set to expire.

A cargo ship is seen in front of a port after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Trump signed off on a temporary waiver of the Jones Act, which limits shipping between U.S. coasts to U.S. flagged vessels and can drive up the cost of goods, on Sept. 28.

Velazquez, a Democrat from New York and a native of Puerto Rico, asked Trump in a letter for an extension of at least a year.

“If the Jones Act is reinstated, building supplies will cost significantly more in Puerto Rico, compared to costs on the mainland,” Velazquez said in a statement. “With the long road to recovery just beginning, I am asking that the Jones Act waiver for Puerto Rico be extended.”

Other lawmakers, including Republican Senator John McCain, have called for the Jones Act to be put on hold given the severe damage caused to the island by Hurricane Maria.

On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security said extending the Jones Act waiver was not needed to support relief efforts for the U.S. territory.

Trump has not said that he planned to sign off on another extension.

Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Tom Brown

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