One widespread belief about Puerto Rico statehood is that it is supported by Democrats but not by Republicans. This is false. Republican support for Puerto Rico statehood has been well documented for many years.
Some Republicans oppose statehood for Puerto Rico
Some Republicans do not support statehood for Puerto Rico. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has come out against statehood because he believes that Puerto Rico would be a Democratic state. He has not mentioned other objections to statehood for Puerto Rico, nor has he provided any evidence for his claim that Puerto Rico would be a blue state.
Indeed, it is not clear that admitting Puerto Rico would have any effect on the balance of power in Congress.
Republicans also support Puerto Rico statehood
Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner and sole voice in the nation’s capital, is herself a Republican and a strong supporter of statehood. The Republican Party platform supports Puerto Rico statehood, explicitly stating in the most recent document, “We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state.”
The Republican Party of Puerto Rico also supports statehood.
Puerto Rico’s RNC Committeewoman Zoraida Fonalledas tweeted a press release on behalf of the Party after the November 3rd plebiscite: “We, the American citizens of Puerto Rico, made it clear Tuesday that statehood is the future for our island. Statehood won a clear majority in a plebiscite that saw voter participation far exceeding that of many federal elections on the mainland, leaving no room for doubt about the path forward.”
“Congress and the President should waste no time in acting on Tuesday’s results,” the statement continued, “and give Puerto Rico the long-overdue equality and opportunity that it has called for three times in the last decade alone.”
The Puerto Rico Young Republican Federation has also called for Congress to honor the recent vote for statehood. “The results of the referendum in favor of statehood are an unequivocal message in favor of advancing the decolonization option of the people of Puerto Rico. So much so, that Statehood got more votes than any candidate in this election and shows support outside of party lines. Last night, statehood was consolidated as the most important civic and political cause of all Puerto Ricans,” Josué Rivera, president of the Federation, told The Weekly Journal.
José Cabrera, co-president of the organization, was quoted by the same source as saying, “Congress has the responsibility to act on our claim, as it is the only body with the constitutional power to admit states. In what concerns us most, we will remain firm and vigilant that Republican members of Congress lead the equality we demand at the polls.”
Republican support in Washington
Numerous Republican lawmakers support statehood. From Rob Bishop (R-UT) to Don Young (R-AK), GOP members of Congress have spoken up for equality through statehood for Puerto Rico.
HR 4901, the most recent statehood bill, currently has 18 Republican cosponsors.
Republican presidents including Reagan, Ford, and George Bush have also supported statehood for Puerto Rico.
While there is work to do for Puerto Rico to be admitted as the voters have demanded, it is not the case that Republicans will not support their efforts.