More Options on the Ballot? | Puerto Rico 51st

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi has introduced a Puerto Rico status bill in the senate. This follows HR 8393, The Puerto Rico Status Act, which was introduced in the House by Rep. Raul Grijalva. Wicker’s bill also is called The Puerto Rico Status Act.

The bill claims that

“the permissible status options for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico include—

(i) statehood;
(ii) independence;
(iii) free association; and
(iv) commonwealth status; and

‘‘removing the Commonwealth option would raise real questions about the vote’s legitimacy’’.

It therefore includes the option of continuing as an unincorporated territory among the choices on the ballot for another plebiscite to be held in Puerto Rico.

Commonwealth

The bill defines “commonwealth” as follows:

“A vote for Commonwealth–Estado Libre Asociado shall be a reaffirmation of the will of the people of Puerto Rico to retain their Commonwealth–Estado Libre Asociado status.

‘‘(B) To enable the development of Commonwealth-Estado Libre Asociado status, there shall be created a United States–Puerto Rico Negotiating Commission that will examine and propose enhancements to the current status, including the potential substitution of the Act of July 3, 1950 (commonly known as the ‘Puerto Rico Federal Relations Act of 1950’) (64 Stat. 319, chapter 446) for a formal compact.’’.

The idea of an “enhanced commonwealth” has been repeatedly rejected by all three branches of the federal government.

Rep. Tom McClintock of California attempted an amendment to the House Puerto Rico Status Act which would include unincorporated territory status and “none of the above.”

Grijalva responded by saying that this amendment would imply that there was “a mysterious non-territorial option” other than statehood, independence and free association.

The idea of the “enhanced commonwealth” has been posited for many years. The commonwealth party claims that they cannot define this option because it will emerge during negotiations with the U.S. government. The U.S. government has been very clear that this is not a real possibility.

Senate needed

If HR 8393 passes the House, there will have to be a companion bill passed in the Senate. The two bills must be harmonize to create a final bill which will go to the president for signature.

Wicker’s Senate bill could be a starting point for a real binding referendum bill in the Senate.

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2 Responses

  1. “The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widely spread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”
    Bertrand Russell

    A few days ago was the 70th Anniversary of the ELA – Estado Libre asociado – current Puerto Rico’s territorial status. Pablo Jose Hernandez Rivera was the keynote speaker. The 31:16 minute or so speech was a praise of the cynical, ambivalent and incongruent basis of the ELA status. The delivery was well orchestrated to promote further notorious Puerto Rican political nepotism. Unfortunately, the speaker’s style was weak, unpolished and only served to unmasked the PPD and ELA’s supporters last desperate attempts to salvage, the
    Unsalvageable.

    Highlights from the speech included the following:
    The ELA exists in the life that you live,
    The ELA exists when a Puerto Rican is born and is automatically a USA citizen,
    The ELA exists when his mother feeds him with the help of WIC,
    The ELA exists when he grows up in a home subsidized by section 8,
    The ELA exists when he attends a head start program,
    The ELA exits when he plays sports and is inspired to win a gold medal like Monica Puig and J. Camacho Quinn,
    The ELA exists when that young man obtains his first job in a factory, a business or a commercial entity established in PR thanks to PR’s fiscal autonomy,
    The ELA exits when he only pays taxes in PR and does not pay federal income tax,
    The ELA exists when he visits his relatives in the continental USA and does required a visa,
    The ELA exists when he receives federal aid to rebuild his home after a natural disaster and receives a stimulus check after a pandemic,
    The ELA exists when he retires and receives social security and Medicare,
    The ELA exists when he sees the Puerto Rican flag and hears the PR national anthem, at the same level that the USA flag,
    The ELA exists in the life of P Ricans from birth to death.

    The Speech tone and frighting manifest is that ELA promoters continue to see themselves as privilege elitists who intend to continue to control the middle and lower social classes through the territorial status and contradictory patriotism.

    Their goal is to promote economic and social dependency, while restricting their educational potential and political power.

    ELA supporters continue to advocate for USA citizenship and federal funds but with fiscal autonomy without transparency and federal accountability.

    ELA supporters are not interested in decreasing Puerto Rico’s poverty rate, nor contributing to its educational growth and overall socio-political potential. They have had many decades to optimize the quality of life of the island’s residents, yet the problems remain the same, in spite, a significant increase in federal funds since the 1950’s.

    ELA supporters cannot and should not be allowed to promote an unconstitutional proven territorial status.

    ELA supporters need to choose between Statehood, independence or independence with a free association pact and all the pros and cons of each choice.

    Senator’s Wicker’s Senate bill may be a starting point for a real binding referendum bill, but it is the responsibility of Senator Wicker and all U.S. Senators
    To defend and protect their oath of office and our USA constitution.

    Puerto Rico’s future permanent status option must be within the realm of our U.S. constitution and respectful of our U.S. values and responsibilities.

    It cannot be the acceptance of an unconstitutional scheme at the expense of our USA citizenship and our federal fiscal status.

    • Correction:

      The ELA exists when he visits his relatives in the continental USA and does not required a visa,

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