The Republican Party of Puerto Rico is stepping up its outreach to the leadership of the House of Representative to urge action on the November Puerto Rican plebiscite. Members of the Party will join a coalition of forces meeting in Washington today to advocate congressional action on the recent Puerto Rican vote for statehood.
Local Republican outreach to national leaders began immediately after the plebiscite, when party leaders contacted Speaker Boehner (R-OH), Majority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) through a letter noting the plebiscite results in favor of statehood as well as Republican support for Puerto Rican statehood over the years. The letter explains:
For the first time in Puerto Rico’s history, voters soundly rejected the present form of territorial status — by a margin of 54% to 46%. Voter turnout was 78.01% of all eligible voters. Moreover, voters selected statehood as the preferred non-territorial option by a wide and decisive margin of 61.13%. Interestingly, and more tellingly, the total votes in favor of statehood exceeded the total votes in favor of maintaining the present form of territorial status.
The letter also quotes the 2012 Republican platform, which stated, “We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state if they freely so determine.”
Now that the people of Puerto Rico have so determined, the RPPR points out, “it is now up to the U.S. Congress to promptly enact legislation enabling the will of the People.”
The letter further reminds House leadership of the Republican “legacy of leadership in the cause of equality and democracy” for the roughly four million Americans living in Puerto Rico. Although the letter does not go into detail, Republican presidents have uniformly endorsed statehood since Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, and Congressional Republicans have often shown support as well. (Click here for a sample quote from then-Rep. Don Young (R-AK).)
The letter points out that the Republican Party “has the opportunity of embracing [the self determination] process as evidence of its commitment to equality and democracy with a key and growing sector of the Hispanic community in the United States,’ and concludes that
Our country was founded upon a basic principle of a government by consent of the governed. Congress has the constitutional authority, as well as the moral responsibility, of applying and living by this founding principle in the case of American citizens in Puerto Rico.
Read the full text of the letter.