GOP bill aims to give Puerto Rico more help

President Donald Trump walks from Marine One across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, as he returns from Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Republican senators have introduced legislation to permanently exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act, a previously obscure law that requires that goods shipped between U.S. ports be carried by U.S.-flagged vessels.

President Donald Trump on Thursday waived the law for 10 days to allow foreign ships to carry cargo to the hurricane-devastated island.

Sens. Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Mike Lee of Utah said the waiver will help, but will not do enough to help Puerto Rico recover and rebuild from Hurricane Maria.

McCain has long pushed to repeal the Jones Act, saying it has outlived its purpose to benefit special interests — U.S. shipping companies and labor unions that say the law supports U.S. jobs.

While he’d prefer full repeal, McCain said the exemption would help Puerto Rico.

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