House Debates Status of Puerto Rico... 2010 Votes?

Published April 29, 2010, 10:31 am, CST

by Diane W. Collins


The House is currently debating HR 1305 which provides for consideration of bill HR 2499 to provide a federally sanctioned self-determination process for the people of Puerto Rico. Democratic leadership is establishing a "new rule" through which the Federal government is "asking Puerto Rico" if they would like to become a state. In past practice, the entity wishing statehood initiates the process.


The issue is dividing the Democratic party with many asking why this is currently being posed. Most would like to see the traditional process in which initiation stems from the entity wishing to become a state. Further, in asking Puerto Ricans if they wish to pursue statehood it is believed that the proposed rule is skewed to produce a desired resulting answer... statehood. The question asked of the Puerto Ricans is to choose between statehood or independence and pre-association. Amendments are being offered.


The bill does not obligate the United States to act on moving forward with statehood for Puerto Rico after their response is determined, but it is curious as to why the Democrats are pushing determination. A cautious view might be this poses yet another avenue for potential new Democratic votes in the upcoming 2010 elections. Perhaps the administration and Democratic leadership see Puerto Rican statehood as an easier means of obtaining 2010 votes than attempting Immigration Reform.


House Republicans should work to ensure the process is appropriate and that the rights of the Puerto Rican people are observed... not dictated.


UPDATE: The House has passed the referendum asking the Puerto Rican legislature to call for a general vote on statehood.










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