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S. 1894 (115th): A bill to exempt Puerto Rico from the coastwise laws of the United States (commonly known as the “Jones 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 and crew must be American citizens. In the present day, that means such ships cost much more — often to the tune of billions of dollars in aggregate.

The protectionist measure was instituted in 1920 to boost U.S. ships in …

Sponsor and status

John McCain

Sponsor. Senator for Arizona. Republican.

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Last Updated: Oct 2, 2017
Length: 4 pages
Sep 28, 2017
115th Congress (2017–2019)
Died in a previous Congress

This bill was introduced on September 28, 2017, in a previous session of Congress, but it did not receive a vote.

Although this bill was not enacted, its provisions could have become law by being included in another bill. It is common for legislative text to be introduced concurrently in multiple bills (called companion bills), re-introduced in subsequent sessions of Congress in new bills, or added to larger bills (sometimes called omnibus bills).


3 Cosponsors (3 Republicans)



Sep 28, 2017

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

S. 1894 (115th) was 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.

Bills numbers restart every two years. That means there are other bills with the number S. 1894. This is the one from the 115th Congress.

This bill was introduced in the 115th Congress, which met from Jan 3, 2017 to Jan 3, 2019. Legislation not passed by the end of a Congress is cleared from the books.

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“S. 1894 — 115th Congress: A bill to exempt Puerto Rico from the coastwise laws of the United States (commonly ….” 2017. March 21, 2023 <>

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