In the past week, six Republican congresspeople have added their names as cosponsors of the Puerto Rico Status Act. The latest additions to the list are Reps. Nicole Malliotakis, from New York; Bill Posey, from Florida; and James Moylan, from the territory of Guam.
The Puerto Rico Status Act
HR2757, the Puerto Rico Status Act, calls for a binding referendum on Puerto Rico’s political status. Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States, has held six plebiscites already, but this would be the first federally-sponsored vote. This is also the first bill that commits Congress to take action on the vote. A referendum is normally a question of asking the people what they want, and doesn’t force the government to take any action. HR2757, if passed, would end Puerto Rico’s territorial status. The Island would end up either as a state of the Union, or as an independent nation, with or without a Compact of Free Association with the United States.
A bipartisan bill
There is a misconception that supporting statehood for Puerto Rico is a Democratic position, one that Republicans will not support. The Puerto Rico status act gives the Island a choice of status options, one of which is statehood. An earlier version of the bill passed in the House last December, but some observers continue to think of any change in Puerto Rico’s status as a liberal agenda item.
One sign of this is Donald Trump’s ads claiming that Ron DeSantis is not a conservative because he supported Puerto Rico self-determination in 2018. Mitch McConnell also appeared to describe statehood for Puerto Rico as “full-bore socialism.” Both examples show political hyperbole, but the misconception lives on.
In fact, statehood for Puerto Rico has been part of the Republican Party platform since 1940, and Republican presidents including Reagan and Bush have supported it. HR 2757 has 12 Republican cosponsors at the time of this writing.
One is the Resident Commissioner for Puerto Rico, Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon. A Republican, she is known for working well with members of both parties.
“I will continue at a firm pace to gather support inside and outside Congress for the aspirations for equality expressed by our people,” said Gonzalez-Colon, “according to the mandate they gave us when they overwhelmingly supported Statehood in the November 2020 plebiscite.”
If you live in a state, you will not have a chance to vote on Puerto Rico’s status if HR 2757 passes. However, unlike residents of Puerto Rico, you have the power to influence the representatives in Congress who will get to vote on HR 2757. Please reach out to your representatives today and ask them to support the Puerto Rico Status Act.