How Congress Uses Ratification Votes

It has been such a long time since the United States added a state that most of us have forgotten how it works. One uncertainty is the question of ratification. HR 1522, The Puerto Rico Statehood Admissions bill, calls for the voters of Puerto Rico to ratify, or approve, the offer of statehood presented by… Read more »

Guam Is Not a Foreign Country

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) recently mentioned the U.S. territory of Guam in a public speech. She said that she, as “a regular person,” wanted to see her “hard-earned dollars” helping America, not “China, Russia, the Middle East, Guam, whatever…” It was clear that Greene was using Guam as an example of a foreign country…. Read more »

Concerns about Puerto Rican Statehood

Puerto Rico voted in favor of statehood in November of 2012, again in June of 2017,and yet again in November 2020. Statehood will provide benefits in economics, security, and full democratic rights. That is not to say that there are no concerns. Here, let’s examine some of the concerns expressed in the media: Redesigning the flag   While… Read more »

Constitutional Law Scholars Endorse Proposal for Statehood Ratification Vote

Shortly before the hearing on Puerto Rico’s status held earlier this month, a group of constitutional law scholars from the University of Puerto Rico, Columbia, Yale, Harvard and across the nation collaborated on a letter explaining their support of HR 1522, the Puerto Rico Statehood Admissions Act, and pointing out legal problems with the competing… Read more »

HUD Funds for Puerto Rico Released

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) had authorized $8.2 billion in funding for Puerto Rico under HUD’s Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Relief, or CDBG-DR, program. The funds were allocated but were not actually provided to Puerto Rico. HUD had placed restrictions on the funds, including a special monitor who came on board… Read more »

Responses ahead of the Puerto Rico Status Hearing

For the first time since 2013, the Natural Resources Committee is holding a hearing which is broadly focused on Puerto Rico’s political status. In 2013, the hearing concluded with a statement by the chair, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). “Two out of three of you seem to believe that the current status and enhanced Commonwealth are… Read more »

April 13th Is Borinqueneers Day

April 13th, 2021, is the first national Borinqueneers Day. The national holiday was proclaimed by Congress earlier this year. A ceremony honoring this day took place at Puerto Rican Veterans Memorial in Boston’s South End on Saturday. Many events led up to the celebration. On April 13th, 2016, the Borinqueneers received the Congressional Gold Medal, the… Read more »

Congress to Consider Two Bills — but Which Status Options?

A Congressional hearing scheduled for April 14th will consider the two bills on Puerto Rico’s political status that are currently pending before the U.S. House of Representatives: HR 1522 and HR 2070. Both have companion bills in the Senate. HR 1522 At its core, HR 1522 recognizes previous referendums in Puerto Rico and provides a… Read more »

Federal Recommendations on Culture and Language Encouraged in Status Convention

Next week’s hearing on Puerto Rico’s status will be different from other hearings on the Island’s political status. Instead of focusing on the traditional trio of political viewpoints in Puerto Rico — representing statehood, some version of “commonwealth,” and independence — the hearing will focus instead on two bills now in Congress: HR 1522 and… Read more »