Posts Categorized: Archives

New Status Bill Unveiled, Public Input Phase Launched

At a press conference Thursday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-NY), together with Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Small Business Committee Chair Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR), Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and Governor of Puerto Rico Pedro Pierluisi (D) presented… Read more »

Puerto Rico’s Plebiscites

Puerto Rico has had six plebiscites – in 1967, 1993, 1998, 2012, 2017, and 2020. These have been votes asking people living in Puerto Rico what political status they would like to have. Puerto Rico is currently a territory of the United States. Under the Insular Cases, Puerto Rico can continue in that status indefinitely…. Read more »

The Two Meanings of “Commonwealth”

Although use of the term “commonwealth” to describe Puerto Rico’s relationship with the U.S. has fallen out of favor in recent years, the label still has a few champions left, as evidenced by a recent opinion piece in El Nuevo Dia. Referring to compromise Puerto Rico status legislation under consideration in the U.S. House of… Read more »

The Future of the Child Tax Credit in Puerto Rico

Until tax year 2021, the Child Tax Credit received by most parents in all the States was not available to most families in Puerto Rico. In a territory which has the lowest birth rate of any jurisdiction in the United States (1.04 births per woman; Vermont, the lowest state, is at 1.6), families were eligible… Read more »

Anti-statehood Arguments about Hawaii


The people of Hawaii did not choose to be annexed by the United States in 1897 any more than Puerto Rico wanted to be brought into the United States in 1898 — that is, some favored the move, but it was not by choice of the people living there. Statehood was a different matter. While… Read more »

Puerto Rico Status: Court or Congress?

Some observers responded with outrage to the Supreme Court’s decision that Congress is allowed to discriminate against Puerto Rico when it comes to federal benefits. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) tweeted, “I’m disappointed to see the Supreme Court once again treat Puerto Ricans as second class citizens. The people of Puerto Rico deserve better.” Rep. Darren Soto… Read more »

Binding the Congress


One of the terms that comes up frequently in discussions of Puerto Rico’s status – particularly in the bills currently being considered in Congress – is “binding.” The term is often used in ways that are inaccurate or misleading. Decisions of voters aren’t binding on Congress For example, we see observers argue that the votes… Read more »

Supreme Court Rules against Equal Treatment for Puerto Rico

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution does not require Congress to extend Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to residents of Puerto Rico. With a dissenting opinion from Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court ruled 8-1 that Congress may refuse SSI payments to people who live in Puerto Rico, even if they would be eligible… Read more »

Enhanced Commonwealth or Free Association?

In a Congressional hearing in 2000, the late Congressman Don Young (R-AK) introduced the discussion on Puerto Rico status legislation (HR 4751) by saying, “HR 4751 is the measure that Congress would have to approve to attempt to implement the party’s enhanced commonwealth formula. Various versions of this enhanced commonwealth formula have been promoted in… Read more »