The Puerto Rico Statehood Admissions Act of 2019 (HR 4901) currently has 46 co-sponsors, both Democratic and Republican. The bill calls for a new status plebiscite in Puerto Rico, with a commitment from Congress to take action on the vote.
Many of the co-sponsors have made statements explaining why they support the act. Here are some of the statements made by the co-sponsors of the bill.
“This historic bill places us on a path towards the political equality that our people deserve. The American citizens of Puerto Rico will have the opportunity to participate in a federally-sponsored vote and be asked the following question: ‘Should Puerto Rico be admitted as a State of the Union, yes or no?’. This is similar to what happened in Alaska and Hawaii, which is what ultimately makes this legislation different.” – Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR)
“Rep. González-Colón’s introduction of this statehood bill is an important step in the continued conversation about the future of the island. I commend the Resident Commissioner for her unwavering support for a stable and vibrant Puerto Rico.” – Ranking Republican Rob Bishop (R-UT)
“With Alaska being the second-youngest state in the nation, I am deeply familiar with the deliberations and debate involved when deciding whether or not to pursue statehood. Although federal law applies in Puerto Rico, its 3.2 million U.S. citizens cannot participate in national elections, cannot vote for president, and do not have full representation in Congress. I am proud to be supporting this legislation to provide a plebiscite with the assistance from the U.S. Department of Justice and create a pathway to statehood. I have always been a supporter of the island’s right to self-determination, and this bill empowers Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico faces many issues, including economic difficulty and the ongoing hurricane recovery efforts. Ultimately, Congress must consider admitting Puerto Rico to the Union, but in the meantime, I will continue doing everything in my power to help Puerto Rico overcome the difficult obstacles they currently face.” – Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
“I care deeply about Puerto Rico because my constituents care deeply about Puerto. But every Member of Congress should care about Puerto Rico because Puerto Ricans are our fellow citizens. We’re part of the same American family and we should fight for each other…The bill will authorize the government of Puerto Rico to hold the first federally-sponsored status vote in the island’s history, using funding Congress made available for this purpose back in 2014. The ballot will be simple and fair, asking voters whether they want Puerto Rico to become a state, yes or no. Those who support statehood can vote “yes” and those who prefer another status can vote “no.” That’s what Alaska did. That’s what Hawaii did. And that’s what Puerto Rico should do—and this bill requires Congress to respect their wishes. I will support whatever choice the people of Puerto Rico make, but I personally hope they choose statehood. It’s the only way for Puerto Ricans to have full democratic rights and full equality within this nation, which they have contributed so much to. I think men and women from Puerto Rico, who serve in the U.S. military with courage and patriotism, should be able to vote for their president and commander-in-chief. I think they should have two senators and five representatives in Congress to defend their interests. I think they should be treated equally under all federal health and economic development programs. I support statehood for Puerto Rico because I support equality for the people of Puerto Rico. They deserve to have the same rights and responsibilities as their fellow citizens in Florida andevery other state. Puerto Rico has earned its star on the American flag, and I’ll do everything within my power to make that happen.” – Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL)
“The people of Puerto Rico have voted twice for statehood. I am proud to work with Commissioner González-Colón to make their voices be heard in Washington.” – Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL)
“The people of Puerto Rico have already twice requested to become a state. It is time for the citizens of Puerto Rico to be able to have the same rights and privileges as [other] American citizens and I hope my colleagues will support this measure.” – Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL)
“I support the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act because the right to self-determination lies at the very heart of American democracy. The Puerto Rican people deserve to exercise that right by holding a plebiscite on the question of statehood for their Island. #PR51st.” (tweet) — Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL)