The national Republican Party adopted a plan to make Puerto Rico a State in its Platform agreed to by the 2016 Republican National Convention Monday night.
The plan supports the “right” of the territory to become a State and recognizes its 2012 rejection of territory status and embrace of statehood over nationhood. A plebiscite under local law voted for statehood with 61.2% of the vote.
The GOP agenda also references a Federal law enacted in 2014 that provides for a plebiscite under U.S. Department of Justice auspices on statehood, nationhood, or both.
“Once the 2012 local vote for statehood is ratified,” the Republican policy statement asserts, “Congress should approve an enabling act with the terms” for Puerto Rico’s admission as a State.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has previously said that Congress should consider statehood for the territory if Puerto Ricans petition for it. An advisor, Alan Cobb, who formerly worked for U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) and former Republican presidential nominee and Senator from Kansas Bob Dole as well as Koch Industries, helped draft the Platform language.
The Republican manifesto also reaffirmed the right of the peoples of all five U.S. territories to seek the application of all provisions of the U.S. Constitution to their islands. Among other things, this would mean equal treatment in Federal tax laws.
It, additionally, calls for exemptions from the Federal minimum wage and from laws requiring the use of U.S. shipping for ocean freight.
Another proposal was that there be a Special Assistant to the President for territories issues. And it was suggested that the office providing for the transition to the presidency of the next president have an advisory committee representing the islands.
The Platform also contends that the territories must be considered in U.S. international trade agreements.