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April 13th, the Day of the Borinqueneers

The Borinqueneers, the 65th Infantry Regiment, were a regiment in the U.S. Army which grew out of the first volunteer regiment established in Puerto Rico in 1899. They were officially established as a Hispanic regiment in 1908, served with distinction in the Korean War, and were incorporated into the Puerto Rico National Guard when segregation ended.

On April 13th, 2016, the Borinqueneers were honored with the Congressional Medal of Honor. In July 2020 a House Resolution was introduced designating April 13th as Borinqueneers Day. The resolution was sent to the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

A Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) was passed by the Senate unanimously.

Defense spending bill

The resolution became part of the Defense Spending Authorization for fiscal year 2021. As Section 1088, “Congressional expression of support for designation of National Borinqueneers Day,” the resolution is included in a bill authorizing a $740 million budget for next year.

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colon told El Nuevo Dia that the legislation also includes an allocation of 37 million for the National Guard Preparation Center at Fort Allen de Juana Díaz.

The House of Representatives voted 335-78 to pass the bill. This is a veto-proof majority.

The bill must now go to the Senate.

Possible veto

President Trump has threatened to veto the bill when it reaches his desk. This is not related to the Borinqueneers. Trump objects to two points in the defense spending bill.

First, he wants to repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Section 230 says that “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Just as a phone company is not responsible for things people say on the phone, platforms like Facebook are not responsible for things people post on Facebook.

Second, the president objects to a directive in the bill calling for the names of 10 Army bases named for Confederate leaders to be changed. Both the House and the Senate have agreed that this should happen, but the president has threatened to veto the bill if the provision remains.

Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has a policy of refusing to send bills to the floor for a vote if the president says he will veto them. However, NPR reported that McConnell “told reporters” that he supports the bill, and the legislation is expected to pass, creating a new day of recognition for the Borinqueneers.


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