How you can help Puerto Rico

CBS News

According to Reuters, the White House felt there was no need to lift the Act "because it would do nothing to address the island's main impediment to shipping, damaged ports".

Trump on Twitter also again defended the federal response, saying that the military and first responders were doing an "amazing job" and blasted the news media, whom he said were disparaging relief workers.

Trump on Wednesday, however, said he was considering lifting the Jones Act.

San Juan's mayor this week issued an emotional "mayday call" as the stricken island faced continued electricity outages and shortages of food and medicine.

Gray says most of their windows are still boarded up because they want to save as much power as possible.

"We are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency and the bureaucracy", Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz said Friday.

Mr Trump has said the USA deployed 10,000 emergency response workers to Puerto Rico after Maria's 140mph winds and torrential rain brought the Caribbean island's fragile infrastructure to its knees.

That 1920 law mandates that only American-made, American-owned, American-crewed ships can carry cargo between USA ports, including those in US territories like Puerto Rico.

But opponents argue it's an anachronistic piece of legislation that unnecessarily raises the cost of imported goods for the island economy of Puerto Rico.

Trump tweeted later Thursday about the "totally shot" condition of Puerto Rico's electrical infrastructure.

"Damn it, this is not a good-news story", Cruz told CNN. "Right now, Puerto Rico needs all the help it can get".

On Tuesday night, the Department of Homeland Security said that it would be unnecessary to waive the Jones Act for Puerto Rico. Only 11 of the island's 69 hospitals have power or fuel supply and nearly half of the population is without potable water, according to a FEMA briefing issued Tuesday morning. (The island relies on just four US carriers for most of its imports.) And once past the immediate crisis, it could make reconstruction more hard by adding to the price of supplies.

He also suggested that Cruz had been told to criticize the president by "the Democrats" after earlier praising the relief efforts.

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