Our America Initiative

Our America Honorary Chairman Gary Johnson Calls for Jones Act Repeal

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September 29, 2017, Salt Lake City, UT --  Gov. Gary Johnson, Honorary Chair of the Our America Initiative, was among the leaders who urged President Trump to waive the Jones Act restrictions on shipping for the delivery of relief to Puerto Rico.

The Jones Act is a 1920 law that requires goods transported by water between U.S. ports to be carried on U.S. flagged ships owned by U.S. citizens and manned by U.S. citizens or permanent residents. It can be waived for purposes of national security or emergency, and such waivers are frequently granted when natural disasters hit coastal areas.

After some hesitation and urging by many, such as Governor Johnson, the Department of Homeland Security this week granted a waiver for ships carrying supplies to Puerto Rico. This follows the immediate granting of waivers for Texas and Florida after hurricanes Harvey and Irma in recent weeks.

Johnson said, “Even if the Jones Act made sense almost 100 years ago, it certainly doesn’t make sense now. Limiting marine shipping options to U.S.- owned vessels is classic protectionism wrapped in an outdated cloak of national security. The net result is higher prices for goods and greater costs for thousands of businesses, especially in coastal areas, the islands and Alaska.

“The fact that, every time there is an emergency or natural disaster that requires efficient shipment of goods, the law’s restrictions have to be lifted tells us that it simply needs to be repealed.

“It is a special interest law that has been on the books for decades too long, and those special interests have blocked every attempt to repeal it. Hopefully, the events of recent weeks will convince Congress to take a fresh look at a law that has no place in today’s global economy or the free market.”