The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs will hold a hearing on the political status and economic outlook of Puerto Rico on Wednesday, June 24th.
The hearing, “Examining procedures regarding Puerto Rico’s political status and economic outlook.” will focus specifically on H.R. 727, the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Process Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, which became Public Law 113-76 and includes $2.5 million for a federally-approved plebiscite.
Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and its political status has been in limbo for many years. The territory has been referred to as a “commonwealth,” but that title carries no actual legal definition. The word “commonwealth” is used in the official name of the island, just as it is in the names of four states – Kentucky, Massachusetts, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Puerto Rico is experiencing a severe economic crisis, which has been linked to its uncertain political status. The hearing is designed to shed light on the political and economic issues facing Puerto Rico and educate Congress on the legal status options available to the Island.
Puerto Ricans overwhelmingly chose statehood in a plebiscite under local law held in 2012. With close to 80% of eligible voters participating, the results also rejected the current territory status by a margin of 54% to 46%.
Representative Don Young (R-AK) is the chair of the subcommittee and witnesses for the hearing are by invitation only and will be announced once the witness list is confirmed.