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H.R. 3966: Puerto Rico Humanitarian Relief Act

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About the bill

Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and left millions without electricity, as the only Category 5 hurricane to ever strike the territory. But critics say that an obscure law from 1920 prevented disaster relief from being as effective as it could have been.

The Puerto Rico Humanitarian Relief Act would overturn that law.


The law is popularly called the Jones Act, formally named the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. It requires that all goods transported on water between U.S. ports be on American ships, for which both the owners ...

Sponsor and status

Gary Palmer

Sponsor. Representative for Alabama's 6th congressional district. Republican.

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Last Updated: Oct 5, 2017
Length: 2 pages

Oct 5, 2017


Introduced on Oct 5, 2017

This bill is in the first stage of the legislative process. It was introduced into Congress on October 5, 2017. It will typically be considered by committee next before it is possibly sent on to the House or Senate as a whole.


4% chance of being enacted according to Skopos Labs (details)


Oct 5, 2017

Bills and resolutions are referred to committees which debate the bill before possibly sending it on to the whole chamber.

If this bill has further action, the following steps may occur next:
Passed Committee

Passed House

Passed Senate

Signed by the President

H.R. 3966 is a bill in the United States Congress.

A bill must be passed by both the House and Senate in identical form and then be signed by the President to become law.

How to cite this information.

We recommend the following MLA-formatted citation when using the information you see here in academic work:

“H.R. 3966 — 115th Congress: Puerto Rico Humanitarian Relief Act.” 2017. November 13, 2018 <>

Where is this information from?

GovTrack automatically collects legislative information from a variety of governmental and non-governmental sources. This page is sourced primarily from, the official portal of the United States Congress. is generally updated one day after events occur, and so legislative activity shown here may be one day behind. Data via the congress project.