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Saturday, August 22, 2015
Jones Act Reform to be Part of Puerto Rico Relief Package?
By Michael Hansen @ 12:55 AM :: 4605 Views :: Jones Act

by Michael Hansen, Hawaii Shippers Council, August 21, 2015

Reuters reported on August 21st that U.S. Congressman Sean Duffy (R-WI, CD-7), Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations, is seeking solutions to the Puerto Rico financial crisis. Cong Duffy is considering a wide set of reforms for Puerto Rico including a financial control board, extension of Chapter 9 bankruptcy to the Commonwealth, a Jones Act exemption for the Commonwealth.

Key Excerpts:

Puerto Rico's FDIC-insured banks are well capitalized but the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp stands ready to act if one should become insolvent, according to a letter sent to Congressman Sean Duffy, chairman of a Financial Services subcommittee who had inquired about their health.

"Our committee has jurisdiction over banks ... and we have been working on the safety and soundness concerns of Puerto Rico banks," said Duffy, who is separately working on a proposal to look for solutions to Puerto Rico's problems with possible ideas including using a financial control board.

Duffy, a Republican from Wisconsin, also said he is working on broader ideas for a draft proposal to address solutions for Puerto Rico.

Ideas could include a financial control board, an idea proposed in June by Republican Congressman Jeffrey Duncan, and Duffy is examining the possible impact of lifting the Jones shipping Act.

The Jones Act requires ships carrying goods from one U.S. port to another to be built in the United States.

He did not rule out supporting extending Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection for Puerto Rico entities, currently a Democrat-supported proposal, but would like to see it part of wider reforms.

"We have to come up with solutions that help the Puerto Rico people," said Duffy. "It's incumbent upon Republicans to engage on this issue."

LINK: FDIC ready to act on Puerto Rico banks if needed -letter

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