The Jones Act is is a federal law requiring goods shipped between US ports to be transported on ships that are built, owned, and operated by US citizens or permanent residents. It is also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920.

White House officials debated the issue during an Oval Office meeting on Monday, according to anonymous reports to Bloomberg.



This comes after requests from Puerto Rico and oil industry leaders to ease the nearly 100-year-old Jones Act requirements, while facilitating the flow of American natural gas to the US Northeast.

The law was originally designed to protect the domestic shipping industry, with supporters arguing that it is essential today to ensure ships are made in the US.

As such, a strong division was apparent in Monday's meeting.