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Glenn: Lift the Jones Act to Help Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

What’s happening?

Puerto Rico was devastated last week by Hurricane Maria, which made landfall on the island with 155-mph winds.

How bad is the damage?

An estimated 80 percent of crop value was destroyed, more than half of Puerto Rico was left without water and nearly the whole island lost power.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) visited San Juan this week and on Tuesday urged for more efforts, including ways to deliver necessities and house restoration crews, warning that “this has the potential of being a serious humanitarian crisis” because some people will die unless they are reached soon.

What is the Trump administration doing to help?

President Donald Trump declared Puerto Rico a disaster zone last week, and FEMA has been providing relief efforts along with the Defense Department. The U.S. military is assisting as well, and plans to deploy the USNS Comfort hospital ship are under way, CNN reported.

Glenn’s take:

It’s time to lift the Jones Act, a protectionist shipping law from 1920 that says that only American-made ships and American citizens can ship goods between American ports.

“That is ridiculous to have that in place, especially at this point,” Glenn said. “They need to lift it so boats and planes from all over the world and the United States can assist in the relief effort.”

The Trump administration temporarily waived the Jones Act from Sept. 8 to Sept. 22 so Texas and Florida could get fuel shipments after being hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

GLENN: So what matters most? Well, when you're a dialysis patient and you can't get dialysis, or you need oxygen, but your tank is running out, generators without any diesel, no electricity, disabled people stuck in their home without a way to get any kind of food or supply or even help, that's what matters most. It certainly isn't an NFL football game or what somebody decides to do, standing or sitting or kneeling at a football game. The reality of what matters most is happening right now in Puerto Rico. It has been a week since Hurricane Maria devastated the island and killed ten people. Almost the entire island is still without electricity or cell phone service. Officials say it's going to take months to restore electricity. Assessing the damage is even difficult.

Right now, there are a few flights into the island, and emergency power efforts are focused on hospitals. And, predictably, President Trump is tweeting. He's being criticized by politicians and celebrities now on the left for not focusing enough attention on Puerto Rico with his tweets. They hate what he tweets. But now he's not tweeting enough, apparently. This is a home of 3.4 million American citizens. But it doesn't matter if they're citizens or not.

Last week, Trump declared Puerto Rico a disaster zone, making it eligible for federal aid. He sent FEMA. The FEMA head, Brock Long, Homeland Security adviser Tom HEP Bossart to the island. And 10,000 FEMA workers. Ten thousand.

He also said there's some other problems on the island. He said that it is the island's broken infrastructure, ancient electrical grid, and the fact that Puerto Rico is an island. That tends to complicate relief efforts just a bit. Now President Trump has announced he will visit Puerto Rico on October 3rd. Really? Why? They don't really need a state visit. They really don't. That only complicates things.

Here's what the people of Puerto Rico do need: Congress needs to lift the Jones Act. Look this up. We'll explain it later. But basically what that says is all ships, all planes from anywhere in the world have to come to the United States first, and then to Puerto Rico. That is -- that is ridiculous, to have that in place, especially at this point.

They need to lift it. So boats and planes from all over the world and the United States can assist in the relief effort. And it can come directly to the citizens of Puerto Rico.

That's what needs to be done. And we also have to remember that the government should not be the first resort. The government in America is our last resort. If only the NFL player protests had tried to raise awareness for something else, maybe all of us would get our priorities right and remember what matters most.

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