91 in U.S. House Have Sponsored Statehood Bill

Forty additional members of the U.S. House of Representatives have sponsored the bill to make Puerto Rico a State in 2021 if Puerto Ricans vote for the status again since the bill was first introduced by a symbolic 51 members seven weeks ago.

The territory’s resident commissioner in the House, Pedro Pierluisi, is the bill’s lead sponsor. Pierluisi heads Puerto Rico’s statehood party as well as is its official representative to the U.S. Government.

The other 90 come from both national political parties.

The bill would authorize a vote on statehood before 2018. If the vote is in favor of statehood, the bill would require the president of the United States to name a five-member Commission on the Equal Application of Federal Law to Puerto Rico. Two of the members would have to be from the territory.

The panel’s report would be due July 1, 2018.

Puerto Ricans would elect U.S. senators and House of Representatives members and vote for the president and vice-president of the United States in the 2020 elections.

The Commonwealth government would be authorized to use the $2.5 million appropriated by the Federal government 14 months ago for a vote on an option or options that can resolve the question of the territory’s future status for the bill’s vote on statehood.

To read the text of the bill click here.

First Vote for Statehood

In Puerto Rico’s first plebiscite on all of its status options held along with the elections in November, 2012, 54 percent of the vote rejected continuing territory status and 61.2 percent chose statehood among the alternatives.

But the governor and legislature majorities very narrowly elected at the same time disputed the plebiscite and lobbied against Federal action on its petition for a transition to statehood. So, the Obama Administration proposed and Congress passed an authorization for a plebiscite under Federal auspices.

The authorization limited the possible options for the plebiscite to proposals that do not conflict with the Constitution, laws and policies of the U.S. as determined by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The new governor and legislature majorities from the territory’s “commonwealth status” party had initially objected to the 2012 plebiscite because it did not include their party’s proposal for an unprecedented “commonwealth” status. The “commonwealth” proposal had been rejected by the Obama, George W. Bush, and Clinton Administrations as well as by congressional leaders as being impossible for constitutional and other reasons.

Pierluisi led U.S. House and Senate members in sponsoring a somewhat similar bill in the last Congress.

The statehood party members of Puerto Rico’s Legislative Assembly have proposed legislation for a plebiscite on statehood.

Opponents Fear Vote on Statehood

“Commonwealth” party leaders such as former Governor Rafael Hernandez Colon have opposed a vote on statehood because Puerto Ricans would vote for the status.

Hernandez Colon wants a status plebiscite before the 2016 elections because he thinks it is likely that statehood party candidates will win most offices then and move the territory towards statehood in 2017. His plebiscite would include four options — in addition to statehood, his new “commonwealth status” proposal, independence, and nationhood in an association with the U.S. that either nation could end.

The “commonwealth status” party is split between Hernandez Colon’s proposal and the proposal of some other party leaders for nationhood in an association with the U.S. but with U.S. citizenship.

The statehood bill’s sponsors represent 30 States and all four territories. 75 are Democrats, 14 are Republicans, and one is an independent.

The sponsors are:

Amata, Aumua [R-AS]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Beyer, Donald [D-VA-8]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Bordallo, Madeleine [D-GU]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Brown, Corrine [D-FL-5]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Cartwright, Matthew [D-PA-17]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Castor, Kathy [D-FL-14]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Cicilline, David [D-RI-1]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Clyburn, James “Jim” [D-SC-6]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Connolly, Gerald [D-VA-11]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Conyers, John [D-MI-13]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Costa, Jim [D-CA-16]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Crowley, Joseph [D-NY-14]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Curbelo, Carlos [R-FL-26]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Deutch, Theodore [D-FL-21]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Diaz-Balart, Mario [R-FL-25]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Engel, Eliot [D-NY-16]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Frankel, Lois [D-FL-22]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Fudge, Marcia [D-OH-11]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Gabbard, Tulsi [D-HI-2]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Grayson, Alan [D-FL-9]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Harris, Andy [R-MD-1]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Hastings, Alcee [D-FL-20]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Hoyer, Steny [D-MD-5]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Huffman, Jared [D-CA-2]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Jeffries, Hakeem [D-NY-8]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Kaptur, Marcy [D-OH-9]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Kind, Ron [D-WI-3]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
King, Peter “Pete” [R-NY-2]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Labrador, Raúl [R-ID-1]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Larson, John [D-CT-1]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Lewis, John [D-GA-5]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Marino, Tom [R-PA-10]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Meeks, Gregory [D-NY-5]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Mica, John [R-FL-7]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Murphy, Patrick [D-FL-18]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Norton, Eleanor [D-DC]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Plaskett, Stacey [D-VI]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Polis, Jared [D-CO-2]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Ribble, Reid [R-WI-8]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [R-FL-27]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Ruiz, Raul [D-CA-36]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Sablan, Gregorio [I-MP]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Schiff, Adam [D-CA-28]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Schock, Aaron [R-IL-18]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Serrano, José [D-NY-15]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Takai, Mark [D-HI-1]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Vargas, Juan [D-CA-51]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [D-FL-23]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Waters, Maxine [D-CA-43]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Welch, Peter [D-VT]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Young, Don [R-AK]
(joined Feb 4, 2015)
Butterfield, George “G.K.” [D-NC-1]
(joined Feb 12, 2015)
Cárdenas, Tony [D-CA-29]
(joined Feb 12, 2015)
Clarke, Yvette [D-NY-9]
(joined Feb 12, 2015)
DeLauro, Rosa [D-CT-3]
(joined Feb 12, 2015)
Farr, Sam [D-CA-20]
(joined Feb 12, 2015)
Green, Gene [D-TX-29]
(joined Feb 12, 2015)
Israel, Steve [D-NY-3]
(joined Feb 12, 2015)
Johnson, Henry “Hank” [D-GA-4]
(joined Feb 12, 2015)
Perlmutter, Ed [D-CO-7]
(joined Feb 12, 2015)
Scott, Robert “Bobby” [D-VA-3]
(joined Feb 12, 2015)
Stefanik, Elise [R-NY-21]
(joined Feb 12, 2015)
McGovern, James “Jim” [D-MA-2]
(joined Feb 25, 2015)
Mooney, Alex [R-WV-2]
(joined Feb 25, 2015)
Tsongas, Niki [D-MA-3]
(joined Feb 25, 2015)
Pingree, Chellie [D-ME-1]
(joined Mar 4, 2015)
Price, David [D-NC-4]
(joined Mar 4, 2015)
Thompson, Bennie [D-MS-2]
(joined Mar 4, 2015)
Thompson, Mike [D-CA-5]
(joined Mar 4, 2015)
Walz, Timothy [D-MN-1]
(joined Mar 4, 2015)
Capuano, Michael [D-MA7]
(joined Mar 18, 2015)
Carney, John [D-DE]
(joined Mar 18, 2015)
Cummings, Elijah [D-MD-7]
(joined Mar 18, 2015)
Doggett, Lloyd [D-TX-35]
(joined Mar 18, 2015)
Fattah, Chaka [D-PA-2]
(joined Mar 18, 2015)
Hahn, Janice [D-CA-44]
(joined Mar 18, 2015)
Jackson Lee, Sheila [D-TX-18]
(joined Mar 18, 2015)
McNerney, Jerry [D-CA-9]
(joined Mar 18, 2015)
Schrader, Kurt [D-OR-5]
(joined Mar 18, 2015)
Wilson, Frederica [D-FL-24]
(joined Mar 18, 2015)
DeGette, Diana [D-CO-1]
(joined Mar 19, 2015)
Blumenauer, Earl [D-OR-3]
(joined Mar 25, 2015)
Castro, Joaquin [D-TX-20]
(joined Mar 25, 2015)
Cleaver, Emanuel [D-MO-5]
(joined Mar 25, 2015)
Gallego, Ruben [D-AZ-7]
(joined Mar 25, 2015)
Grijalva, Raúl [D-AZ-3]
(joined Mar 25, 2015)
Lowenthal, Alan [D-CA-47]
(joined Mar 25, 2015)
Speier, Jackie [D-CA-14]
(joined Mar 25, 2015)
Capps, Lois [D-CA-24]
(joined Mar 26, 2015)
Langevin, James “Jim” [D-RI-2]
(joined Mar 26, 2015)

5 Comments

Dennis Myers

Last year the Puerto Rico Status Resolution Act got 131 co-sponsors, but never made it out of committee. Something needs to be done to prompt Congress to actually VOTE on one of these bills!

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