HR6246, the Puerto Rico Admission Act of 2018, has been introduced in Congress. One part of the new statehood bill that is different from other statehood bills in the past is the Congressional Task Force on Equality for the United States Citizens of Puerto Rico.
The Task Force will examine the laws of the United States and find those that don’t apply to Puerto Rico, or which apply differently to Puerto Rico from the states.
One example is the Child Tax Credit. This applies to parents in Puerto Rico when they have three children. In the states, all parents can take this credit.
States have laws of their own, and Puerto Rico will be no exception. The Task Force will not focus on local laws, but on federal laws. The object is to make sure that Puerto Rico is treated equally with all the other states by January 1st, 2021.
The task force will also come up with recommendations for temporary economic support for Puerto Rico’s transition to statehood. “Alternative tax arrangements,” “fiscal incentives,” and “other measures” are mentioned as possibilities. The task force will be in charge of making recommendations for changes that will help support economic development for the Island.
Statehood has been a cause of prosperity for every territory that has become a state. The Task Force will help Puerto Rico develop a strong economy as a state.
Representation in the legislature
Perhaps the most important thing statehood will bring for Puerto Rico is full representation in American democracy. The Task Force will also be responsible for determining how Puerto Rico will elect senators and congressional representatives. Puerto Rico will also be able to vote in presidential elections, and the Task Force will work out the details of this process as well.
The Task Force will also study how seats in Congress are apportioned and figure out how many representatives Puerto Rico should have.
About the Task Force
The Congressional Task Force on Equality for the United States Citizens of Puerto Rico will be made up of nine members: four each from the House and the Senate, plus the Resident Commissioner. The Task force will create reports within 270 days, and once they finish their reports, they will disband.
The bill says, “The enactment of this Act expresses the intent of Congress to pass legislation based upon the Task Force’s final report.”
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