Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR) is one of the authors of HR 8393, The Puerto Rico Status Bill now being considered in Congress. She is a member of the Natural Resources Committee, and the only elected representative in Puerto Rico. However, some of her Republican colleagues on the committee have raised objections to the bill.
They proposed amendments to the bill in the discussion recorded in the video above.
Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR), the ranking Republican on the committee, proposed an amendment to the bill which will delay the proposed plebiscite until the goals of PROMESA have been achieved. He also told El Nuevo Dia that he does not want the bill to be self-executing.
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) introduced an amendment requiring a 2/3 vote for statehood in Puerto Rico’s plebiscite and a 2/3 vote in Congress to approve a change in Puerto Rico’s status. Alaska was admitted as a state with a 53% majority in Congress.
McClintock also proposed amendments calling for English to be the language of government, courts, and public schools in Puerto Rico, as well as an amendment asking for the current territorial status and “none of the above” to be added to the three options currently included in the bill.
Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-WI) had an amendment to remove the option of U.S. citizenship for children born in an Associated Republic of Puerto Rico.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) wanted to remove sections of the bill, including the section calling for an end to PROMESA’s oversight board, federal grants to an independent Puerto Rico (with or without free association), and the voter education campaign called for and funded by the bill.
No amendments passed, nothing new was said
The discussion continued for three hours, with recesses. All the amendments failed. The bill will go on to the House for further debate and a vote.
There were many interesting discussions and the video is worth watching. But all of the concerns expressed and all of the disagreements aired have been discussed thoroughly at this website, in previous hearings, and in conversations in the states and in Puerto Rico. The same concerns are likely to come up in debate with the full House.
We see that some of the Members of Congress in the discussion didn’t have the background on these issues that they need. We know that this is the case for many people. Before Hurricane Maria, half the people living in the states didn’t know that Puerto Ricans were citizens of the United States.
As we move ahead with HR 8393, it is important that those who know about Puerto Rico help the rest of America — including Congress — get educated about the new state. Please help your friends and family, as well as your representatives in Congress, learn what they need to know.