Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon introduced legislation today that would set Puerto Rico on the path to statehood.
The bill, HR 6246 or the Puerto Rico Admission Act of 2018, begins with a summary of the history of the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico, from U.S. acquisition of Puerto Rico from Spain through the conferral of U.S. citizenship and the “ambiguous, inconsistent and indirect application of the United States Constitution” since then.
The legislation lists the inequities inherent in Puerto Rico’s status as an unincorporated territory. “Congressional policies to date have disenfranchised the approximately 3,400,000 United States citizens residing in Puerto Rico who do not enjoy a democratic form of government at the national level as they cannot vote in the election of the President and Vice President of the United States, are not represented in the United States Senate, and only have one Resident Commissioner in the United States House of Representatives, who can only vote in the Congressional committees to which she or he is assigned.”
The proposal goes on to report the votes in 2012 and 2017 favoring statehood.
“Puerto Ricans have contributed greatly to the Nation in all fields of endeavor, both in war and in peace,” the bill continues. “Over 250,000 have served in the United 14 States Armed Forces, many paying the ultimate sacrifice. They not only deserve, but have earned the right to have their voices heard.”
The bill states that its purpose is to admit Puerto Rico as a state. “The territory of Puerto Rico thereupon shall become a State of the United States, and admitted into the Union on an equal footing and in true permanent union with the other States in all respects whatsoever.” This is the traditional way to phrase this type of bill.
The Gonzalez Colon proposal will also establish a Congressional Task Force on Equality for the United States Citizens of Puerto Rico. This Task Force will identify the areas in which laws need to be updated, determine what kinds of temporary economic support Puerto Rico might need in its transition to statehood, and undertake other tasks important to the transition.
The President of the United States is then called upon to make a public proclamation of Puerto Rico’s statehood.
The original Republican Co-sponsors of the bill:
- Jenniffer González-Colón (PR)
- Rob Bishop (Utah)
- Don Young (Alaska)
- Sean Duffy (Wisconsin)
- Thomas MacArthur (New Jersey)
- Elise M. Stefanik (New York)
- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Florida)
- Amata Radewagen (American Samoa)
- Jim Banks (Indiana)
- Don Bacon (Nebraska)
- Carlos Curbelo (Florida)
- Peter T. King (New York)
- Ron DeSantis (Florida)
- Mario Diaz-Balart (Florida)
- Ted S. Yoho (Florida)
- Brian K. Fitzpatrick (Pennsylvania)
- Claudia Tenney (New York)
- Raul R. Labrador (Idaho)
- Ryan A. Costello (Pennsylvania)
- David A. Trott (Michigan)
- Jeff Denham (California)
- Scott Taylor (Virginia)
The original Democratic Co-sponsors of the bill:
- Stephanie Murphy (Florida)
- Gregorio Sablan (Northern Marianas)
- Darren Soto (Florida)
- Gene Green (Texas)
- Jamie Raskin (Maryland)
- Juan Vargas (California)
- Donald S. Beyer (Virginia)
- Madeleine Z. Bordallo (Guam)
- Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Florida)
- Stacey Plaskett (Virgin Islands)
- Elizabeth Esty (Connecticut)
- James McGovern (Massachusetts)
- Anthony Brown (Maryland)
- Joyce Beatty (Ohio)