Committee on Resources Report on the United States-Puerto Rico Political Status Act

Committee on Resources Report on the United States-Puerto Rico Political Status Act (HR 856), June 12, 1997, Report Number 105-131, Part 1, pp.22-23 and 26.   [I]n the case of “commonwealth” it quite clearly was a conscious decision of PDP leaders to define it as they would like Congress to change and improve it, rather than it actually is at this time.

The “commonwealth” definition in the 1993 vote reasonably, logically, and without prejudice can and should be seen as a bold “have it both ways” hybrid status option, which is Constitutionally flawed as it purports to combine in one status the primary benefits of both separate sovereignty and statehood, with the primary burdens of neither.  Yet, even with the proposal for a new and “enhanced” formulation of the present Federal–territorial relationship, thought by its authors to be irresistible to the voters, “commonwealth” was not approved by a majority.

Those who advocate the “have-it-both-ways” legal theory and the revisionist version of “commonwealth” hold out the unattainable myth that Puerto Rico can somehow enjoy in perpetuity the most precious American rights of membership in the Union and guaranteed citizenship, without having to cast its lot or fully share risks and burdens with the rest of the American political family.

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