When Joe Biden visited Florida yesterday, he was clearly reaching out to Florida’s Puerto Rican voters. Recent polls show that this population favors statehood, and prefers candidates who do the same. In his final stop of the day, Biden made a statement expressing support for statehood for Puerto Rico.
“I will work with representatives who support each of the status options in Puerto Rico in a fair and binding process so that they can determine their own status. I happen to believe that statehood would be the most effective means of ensuring that residents of Puerto Rico are treated equally, with the same representation at the federal level. But the people of Puerto Rico must decide, and the United States federal government must respect and act on that,” Biden said at an event honoring Hispanic Heritage Month in Kissimmee, Florida.
The video clip below shows this statement.
Vídeo of @JoeBiden expressing his personal support for #Statehood4PuertoRico, saying voters in PR must decide & federal government must respect and act on that decision. Clear signal that the #Nov3rd Statehood YES or NO plebiscite matters not just to PR but to America as a whole. pic.twitter.com/mWWccUcWOp
— PR51st (@PuertoRico51st) September 16, 2020
The Biden-Harris Plan for Puerto Rico
Biden and running mate Kamala Harris released their Recovery Plan for Puerto Rico before Biden’s Florida visit. The plan is officially titled “The Biden-Harris Plan for Recovery, Renewal, and Respect for Puerto Rico.”
Main points include
- Supporting a full recovery and infrastructure reconstruction to modern standards.
- Investing in Puerto Rico’s future through economic development initiatives and support for families.
- Providing relief from unsustainable debt.
- Expanding access to education and workforce development.
The plan does not address Puerto Rico’s status.
Kamala Harris has cosponsored legislation to expand refundable tax credits (Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit) fully to Puerto Rico and to treat Puerto Rico equally in federal healthcare and nutrition assistance programs.
Puerto Rico must decide
In saying that Puerto Rico must decide, Biden might have been referring to the upcoming plebiscite on Puerto Rico’s status. Puerto Rico voters will vote yes or no on statehood.
Similar referenda in 2012 and 2017 returned a majority of votes for statehood.
“I’m running to be president of all Americans, including 3 million Americans in Puerto Rico,” Biden said.