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The bipartisan leadership of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee came out solidly for the Jones Act in a letter sent to the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary.

Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) were joined by House Coast Guard and Marine Transportation Subcommittee Chair Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) and Ranking Member Bob Gibbs (R-OH) to inform Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen that they oppose a proposed 10-year Jones Act waiver to move liquefied natural gas to Puerto Rico aboard foreign-flag vessels.

“The Jones Act has been a fundamental pillar of U.S. maritime policy for nearly a century,” wrote the elected officials. “This policy, which exclusively reserves marine transportation between two points in the United States to vessels built, owned and flagged in the United States and manned by U.S. citizens, has served our Nation well. Not only has the Jones Act promoted vibrant economic growth and ensured national security, the Act has created hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs in our domestic maritime trades and shipbuilding industries.”

In December, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection informed the committee that the Governor of Puerto Rico was seeking such a waiver. The committee leaders reminded the Secretary that Jones Act waivers “are constrained purposefully to rare cases where such a waiver is ‘necessary in the interest of national defense.’”

The House leaders added, “It is our belief that no valid national defense rationale exists to support this waiver request of the Jones Act for Puerto Rico, especially for a ten-year period.”