Serrano Reacts to Puerto Rico Status in Obama Budget

Washington, DC – April 10, 2013 – After reviewing the outlines of the President’s budget proposal for 2014, Congressman Serrano reacted to the inclusion of funds for a Puerto Rico status process with the following statement.

“I am pleased that the President’s budget has prioritized funding for a referendum on permanent and Constitutional status options for Puerto Rico. No one should object to a process that leads to a definitive statement by the Puerto Rican people on their future status—and a process that asks them to choose among only constitutionally-viable, non-colonial options. I look forward to supporting this funding request through my seat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, and later seeing it implemented in a timely manner.”

Congressman José E. Serrano has represented The Bronx in Congress since 1990.

This was not the first time Rep. Serrano commented about the condition of his birthplace.  At a 2007 hearing of the House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, he affirmed:

I will not rest until the colony is gone.  It served a purpose for a long time perhaps, and I give credit to those who took it from where it was to where it is.  But it was never the intention of the founders of the commonwealth to keep it as a permanent condition, and it is a condition.  So I find myself today in a unique situation, a situation similar or identical to what [Representative] Nydia [Velasquez (D-NY)] finds herself in.  We were both born in the colony, and now we serve in the Congress of the power that holds the colony.  As a Puerto Rican, I don’t want my birthplace to be a colony.  As an American Congressman, I think it is indecent that my country has colonies in 2007.  And this must end.

Congressman Serrano has also issued statements about the Enhanced Commonwealth political status option championed by some in Puerto Rico, discounting the possibility that Puerto Ricans will never be able to achieve the new rights and privileges offered under this option.  He has explained that “no one in Puerto Rico supports the present status.  When they say they support commonwealth, they support a new commonwealth, which I call a letter to the Three Kings or a letter to Santa Claus.  Because it says let me be a state, but let me be an independent nation; let me change, but not change.  Does Puerto Rico deserve that after 109 years of colonialism?  Absolutely.  And I would vote for it.  Can any Member of Congress outside of three or four of us vote for that?  Absolutely not.   Because as it was said here, if you go back to your district, somebody is going to ask you that Sunday morning in church, what was it that you gave Puerto Rico that you can’t give my district.  And that is the problem, that it is not realistic.”

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