Puerto Rico has had several plebiscites voting on the status of the Island in relationship to the United States. Sometimes the idea of “enhanced commonwealth” has won the vote, and Washington has ignored the vote.

In 1994, Rep. Don Young explained it like this:

The people were presented a mythical commonwealth option which proposed significant changes to the current relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States[.]

It should not be surprising, given human nature, that a plurality of the people voted for a guarantee of virtually all of the benefits and assistance of U.S. citizenship without the corresponding duties and obligations. Notwithstanding the option of `all-the-goodies-without-the-price,’ and to the grand credit of the people of Puerto Rico, a combined majority chose status options offering additional rights and responsibilities. A near plurality of voters chose statehood with the same rights, benefits, and responsibilities of the 50 States; a small fraction voted for independence with the inherent rights, powers, and obligations of separate sovereignty…

It is unfortunate that the voters have faced unrealistic and inflated expectations of a supposed commonwealth relationship with the United States. However, this has become an opportunity to set the record straight; to quell the commonwealth fantasy status which continues to be promoted to the detriment of the society it is purported to help. While it is true that the United States-Puerto Rico relationship shares many things in common, no permanent union secured by an unalterable bilateral pact with irrevocable American citizenship is possible under any variation of the proposed commonwealth formula.

Twenty years later, in 2014, Puerto Rico held a plebiscite in which the only choices were the ones that are actually possible. Voters were asked if they wanted to continue as a territory of the United States, and 54% said no.

They were then asked which of the other options they wanted to go with if they did not continue as a territory. Independence, nationhood in free association with the U.S., and Statehood were the options. 61% of the voters chose Statehood. The White House described the results as “clear.” Yet this vote also was not acted upon as quickly as the voters hoped. Controversy about the vote slowed the process, but there was not a lack of action. The Senate subcommittee  held hearings and funds were set aside for a new, federally-sponsored referendum.

That referendum has not taken place because the current territorial government of Puerto Rico has not been able to agree on what status definition they want on the ballot and because it seems clear statehood would win overwhelmingly.

HR 727, the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Process Act will set out a process after the vote, so that there will be no stalling once the votes are counted.

So far, 91 members of Congress have spoken out for Puerto Rico by co-sponsoring the bill. If yours is on the list, tell him or her that you’re proud they’ve taken this action. If not, it’s time to tell your representative to step up and support HR 727.

Cosponsor and Date Cosponsored
Rep. Serrano, Jose E. [D-NY-15]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Beyer, Donald S., Jr. [D-VA-8]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Bordallo, Madeleine Z. [D-GU-At Large]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Brown, Corrine [D-FL-5]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Cartwright, Matt [D-PA-17]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Castor, Kathy [D-FL-14]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Cicilline, David N. [D-RI-1]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Clyburn, James E. [D-SC-6]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Connolly, Gerald E. [D-VA-11]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Conyers, John, Jr. [D-MI-13]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Costa, Jim [D-CA-16]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Crowley, Joseph [D-NY-14]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Curbelo, Carlos [R-FL-26]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Deutch, Theodore E. [D-FL-21]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Diaz-Balart, Mario [R-FL-25]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Engel, Eliot L. [D-NY-16]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Frankel, Lois [D-FL-22]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Fudge, Marcia L. [D-OH-11]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Gabbard, Tulsi [D-HI-2]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Grayson, Alan [D-FL-9]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Harris, Andy [R-MD-1]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Hastings, Alcee L. [D-FL-20]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Hoyer, Steny H. [D-MD-5]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Huffman, Jared [D-CA-2]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Jeffries, Hakeem S. [D-NY-8]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Kaptur, Marcy [D-OH-9]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Kind, Ron [D-WI-3]* 02/04/2015
Rep. King, Peter T. [R-NY-2]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Labrador, Raul R. [R-ID-1]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Larson, John B. [D-CT-1]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Lewis, John [D-GA-5]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Marino, Tom [R-PA-10]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Meeks, Gregory W. [D-NY-5]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Mica, John L. [R-FL-7]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Murphy, Patrick [D-FL-18]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Norton, Eleanor Holmes [D-DC-At Large]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Plaskett, Stacey E. [D-VI-At Large]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Polis, Jared [D-CO-2]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Radewagen, Amata Coleman [R-AS-At Large]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Ribble, Reid J. [R-WI-8]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [R-FL-27]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Ruiz, Raul [D-CA-36]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Sablan, Gregorio Kilili Camacho [D-MP-At Large]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Schiff, Adam B. [D-CA-28]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Schock, Aaron [R-IL-18]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Takai, Mark [D-HI-1]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Vargas, Juan [D-CA-51]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [D-FL-23]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Waters, Maxine [D-CA-43]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Welch, Peter [D-VT-At Large]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Young, Don [R-AK-At Large]* 02/04/2015
Rep. Butterfield, G. K. [D-NC-1] 02/12/2015
Rep. Cardenas, Tony [D-CA-29] 02/12/2015
Rep. Clarke, Yvette D. [D-NY-9] 02/12/2015
Rep. Farr, Sam [D-CA-20] 02/12/2015
Rep. Green, Gene [D-TX-29] 02/12/2015
Rep. Israel, Steve [D-NY-3] 02/12/2015
Rep. Johnson, Henry C. “Hank,” Jr. [D-GA-4] 02/12/2015
Rep. Perlmutter, Ed [D-CO-7] 02/12/2015
Rep. Scott, Robert C. “Bobby” [D-VA-3] 02/12/2015
Rep. Stefanik, Elise M. [R-NY-21] 02/12/2015
Rep. DeLauro, Rosa L. [D-CT-3] 02/12/2015
Rep. McGovern, James P. [D-MA-2] 02/25/2015
Rep. Mooney, Alexander X. [R-WV-2] 02/25/2015
Rep. Tsongas, Niki [D-MA-3] 02/25/2015
Rep. Pingree, Chellie [D-ME-1] 03/04/2015
Rep. Price, David E. [D-NC-4] 03/04/2015
Rep. Thompson, Bennie G. [D-MS-2] 03/04/2015
Rep. Thompson, Mike [D-CA-5] 03/04/2015
Rep. Walz, Timothy J. [D-MN-1] 03/04/2015
Rep. Capuano, Michael E. [D-MA-7] 03/18/2015
Rep. Carney, John C., Jr. [D-DE-At Large] 03/18/2015
Rep. Cummings, Elijah E. [D-MD-7] 03/18/2015
Rep. Doggett, Lloyd [D-TX-35] 03/18/2015
Rep. Fattah, Chaka [D-PA-2] 03/18/2015
Rep. Hahn, Janice [D-CA-44] 03/18/2015
Rep. Jackson Lee, Sheila [D-TX-18] 03/18/2015
Rep. McNerney, Jerry [D-CA-9] 03/18/2015
Rep. Schrader, Kurt [D-OR-5] 03/18/2015
Rep. Wilson, Frederica S. [D-FL-24] 03/18/2015
Rep. DeGette, Diana [D-CO-1] 03/19/2015
Rep. Blumenauer, Earl [D-OR-3] 03/25/2015
Rep. Castro, Joaquin [D-TX-20] 03/25/2015
Rep. Cleaver, Emanuel [D-MO-5] 03/25/2015
Rep. Gallego, Ruben [D-AZ-7] 03/25/2015
Rep. Grijalva, Raul M. [D-AZ-3] 03/25/2015
Rep. Lowenthal, Alan S. [D-CA-47] 03/25/2015
Rep. Speier, Jackie [D-CA-14] 03/25/2015
Rep. Capps, Lois [D-CA-24] 03/26/2015
Rep. Langevin, James R. [D-RI-2] 03/26/2015



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