Heritage influences White House to waive the Jones Act

Faced with providing hurricane battered Florida and Puerto Rico with extra fuel, the Trump Administration made a move that Heritage has advocated by temporarily suspending the Jones Act.

The Jones Act, passed in the 1920’s, is a regulation which prevented vessels from shipping between American ports unless they were using American made ships crewed by Americans.

Prior to the suspension, Salim Furth, a research fellow in Heritage’s Center for Data Analysis, wrote in The Daily Signal that “Acting immediately to waive the Jones Act will allow fuel, food, water, medicine, and rebuilding supplies to reach Puerto Rico with maximum speed and at the lowest cost.” Furth noted that not only did the Jones Act impede normal business dealings, but that it was detrimental during national disasters.

At a White House press briefing, homeland security advisor Tom Bossart admitted the concern for extra fuel was the motivation behind suspending the Jones Act saying.

“We are worried about the fuel shortages,” said Bossart. “We are bringing in as much supply of refined fuel as possible, and we’ve waived a particular statute that allows for foreign-flagged vessels to help in that effort.”

“It is encouraging to see Heritage research implemented by the Trump Administration, that will have a positive impact for those struggling in Florida and Puerto Rico,” said Jack Spencer, Vice President for Heritage’s Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity.

At the end of the Trump administrations one-week waiver Furth wrote again in The Daily Signal that Puerto Rico needs a much more extensive waiver to rebuild from Hurricane Maria’s direct hit.

“Given the scale of the damage to Puerto Rico and the multiyear rebuilding effort to come, Trump should issue a blanket waiver from the Jones Act for Puerto Rico for as long as the territory continues to use federal aid dollars in its rebuilding,” said Furth.

On September 28 the Department of Homeland Security issued another temporary waiver.

“This waiver will ensure that over the next ten days, all options are available to move and distribute goods to the people of Puerto Rico. It is intended to ensure we have enough fuel and commodities to support lifesaving efforts, respond to the storm, and restore critical services and critical infrastructure operations in the wake of these devastating storms,” said Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke.

Furth says this is great news but that Puerto Rico isn’t going to get back to normal in 10 days.

“President Trump should instruct the Department of Homeland Security to waive the Jones Act for as long as Puerto Rico is spending federal emergency funds. It does not make sense to give Puerto Rico aid money and then prevent them from effectively spending that money buying materials from mainland American businesses.”

Read more about why in natural disasters, the Jones Act is especially onerous and why Congress should grant a permanent exemption from the Jones Act for all fuel tankers.

This post originally appeared on www.heritage.org.

How should natural disaster relief be handled in the United States? 

Tax reform just took a huge step forward

It’s been an eventful week for tax reform.

Monday night, Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner attended a White House dinner with President Trump to discuss tax reform policy.

Below you will see President Feulner sitting directly to the left of President Trump.

On Wednesday the Trump Administration and the leadership in the House and Senate released a tax reform plan that is a clear and positive path forward for Americans.

Heritage tax expert Adam Michel explained the latest on this development:

Leaders in the House, the Senate, and the White House have all agreed on a tax outline, meaning a true update to our broken tax system could be imminent.

First, the GOP tax plan framework would lower taxes for individual Americans. It would double the standard deduction for individuals and thereby expand the zero-percent bracket, and it would create three income tax brackets (down from seven): 12, 25, and 35 percent, respectively.

Most simply, this will allow all Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets.

This plan aligns with many of Heritage’s own recommendations.

On Thursday, Chairman Kevin Brady of the House Ways and Means Committee came to Heritage and detailed how he and the committee are working with President Trump and the House and Senate to move forward on transformational tax reform that will help middle-class Americans.

His remarks focused on creating Main Street jobs, growing middle-class paychecks, making taxes fairer, and helping hardworking Americans – not Washington special interests.

Watch his remarks below:

Thanks for all you do to help make impact in tax reform possible. Your support allows us to be your voice in the places that matter most.

What are your thoughts on this step forward in tax reform?

Heritage’s research directly impacts Pentagon’s strategy

Heritage’s latest research on military strategies has directly impacted the Pentagon’s decision to form a team to determine how the United States can return to a “two-war” posture.

A “two-war” posture is a military force rational that requires an ability to handle two major wars simultaneously or in closely overlapping time frames.

This is an idea Heritage has been advocating for since the introduction of our Index of U.S. Military Strength in 2015.

It is in keeping with the ancient idea of ‘peace through strength’ that was coined by the Roman Emperor Hadrian and later used by President Ronald Reagan when he observed that “peace does not exist of its own will; it depends on us, on our courage to build and guard it”.

General Tom Spoehr, the director of Heritage’s Center for National Defense, explains how the Pentagon’s decision makes America stronger:

This provides America with the ability to engage in a major fight with the confidence that we have the wherewithal to deter and fight an opportunistic enemy who might take advantage of our commitment elsewhere.

By supporting our research, you are making America a stronger, safer, better place for yourself and for future generations.

What other decisions should the Pentagon make to keep America strong?