Resident Commissioner Luis G Fortuno

Resident Commissioner Luis G Fortuno (R-PR), Statement before the House Natural Resources Committee, March 22, 2007, pp. 6-7.  Governor Acevedo’s proposal for enhanced commonwealth, as included in his party’s 2004 platform, provides, among other things, number one, that Puerto Rico would be a sovereign nation but in permanent union with the U.S. as part of a covenant to which the United States will be permanently bound.

Two.  That Puerto Rico would be able to veto most Federal laws.

Three.  That Puerto Rico would be able to invalidate Federal court jurisdictions.

Four.  That Puerto Rico would be able to enter into trade and other agreements with foreign nations and join international organizations separate from the U.S.

Five.  That the U.S. would continue all current assistance programs to Puerto Rico, plus a new annual block grant for socioeconomic development.

Six.  That the U.S. would provide new incentives for investment in Puerto Rico.

Seven.  That the U.S. would continue to grant free entry to any goods shipped from Puerto Rico.

Eight.  That the U.S. would continue to grant U.S. citizenship to persons born in Puerto Rico.

And nine.  That residents of Puerto Rico would not have to pay Federal taxes.

Anyone who objectively reviews the Governor’s enhanced commonwealth wish list and is honest about it will have to conclude that the definition that he is trying to sell in Puerto Rico and to some of our colleagues here is unconstitutional and thus not acceptable to the Congress.  As a matter of fact, similar proposals have been rejected by this very same committee and the Federal Executive Branch in the past.

My friends, the best of two worlds, as labeled by the Governor’s party, does not exist.  If it did, I have no doubts that we in Congress would immediately receive 50 other requests for the same deal.

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