Republican Sens. John McCain and Mike Lee introduced legislation Thursday to permanently exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act shipping law.

The senators say the Trump administration's decision Thursday to grant a 10-day waiver of the Jones Act for Puerto Rico does not go far enough to help rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Maria and encourage long-term economic growth on the bankrupt island.

"While I welcome the Trump administration's Jones Act waiver for Puerto Rico, this short-term, 10-day exemption is insufficient to help the people of Puerto Rico recover and rebuild from Hurricane Maria," said McCain, R-Ariz. "Our legislation would permanently exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act, an antiquated, protectionist law that has driven up costs and crippled Puerto Rico's economy. For years, I have fought to fully repeal the Jones Act, which has long outlived its purpose to the benefit of special interests. It's time for Congress to take action, end this injustice, and help our fellow citizens in this time of need."

McCain and Lee, R-Utah, have long called for repeal of the Jones Act, which they view as protectionist and anti-competitive, driving up the costs of fuel and other important supplies such as food, clothing, and medicine.

Enacted in 1920, the Jones Act prohibits shipments between U.S. ports unless those vessels are American-made, flagged and manned by a crew that is made up of 75 percent U.S. citizens.

Experts say the law by blocking foreign-flagged vessels, imposes higher shipping costs on Puerto Rico than on other islands. The nearby U.S. Virgin Islands have been exempt from the Jones Act since its inception.

The Trump administration was initially hesitant to grant the waiver to Puerto Rico, as it did for Texas and Florida after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. It justified its reluctance by saying American vessels could adequately serve the island.

President Trump on Wednesday noted the powerful shipping industry had lobbied against a waiver, and critics seized on that comment to suggest the White House was basing its decision what industry wanted.

"A lot of people that work in the shipping industry ... don't want the Jones Act lifted," Trump told reporters. "We have a lot of ships out there right now."

But the administration changed course after facing strong pressure from lawmakers, led by McCain, to issue the waiver.