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Nick Rahall

Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall, Opening Statement, Subcommittee on Insular Affairs Legislative Hearing, March 22, 2007, p. 10.  In going back to the 1970s, at least 40 separate measures have been introduced in Congress to resolve or clarify Puerto Rico’s political status.  In addition, Congress has held at least 10 hearings, and four measures have received either House or Senate action.

Further, we have the report by the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status, released last year, which was the subject of a hearing by the committee.

With all this background, it does appear to me that among all of the territorial possessions of the United States, this is indeed the time when we should work toward providing clear direction to Puerto Rico to resolve its political status in a manner consistent with the U.S. constitution.

I believe that this subcommittee’s responsibility is to be an honest broker with the people of Puerto Rico as this issue moves forward.  At the same time, I would submit that it would be misleading to ignore the recommendations of the Report by the President’s Task Force, the position of previous Administrations, our Committee’s own record, international law, and indeed our country’s Constitution.

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