HR 2757, the Puerto Rico Status Act, has three new Republican cosponsors: Rep. Mike Lawler of New York, Rep. Bill Huizenga of Michigan, and Rep. Amata Coleman Radewagen of American Samoa.
HR 2757 would organize the first federally-sponsored status vote in Puerto Rico and commit Congress to take action on the results. There have been six previous referenda, three in the 20th century and three in the 21st century. Statehood won in all three of the votes held in this century.
However, anti-statehood factions have succeeded in confusing the issue — and Congress — to the point that they want one more plebiscite. Under HR 2757, the final vote would give a choice of three options:
- free association
These are the three non-territorial options possible under the U.S. Constitution. The option of “enhanced commonwealth” is not possible, and has been rejected as unviable by all three branches of the U.S. federal government, although some politicians still favor this idea. It is worth noting that free association with the United States is invariably a form of independence. However, it is listed as a separate political status in the compromise bill.
With the addition of the three new sponsors, there are 85 cosponsors. The cosponsors include both Republicans and Democrats.
Huizenga and Radewagen both voted for the Puerto Rico Status Act last year. That bill passed the House in December but did not make it through the Senate before the end of the term.
Lawler is new this year.
Radewagen represents a U.S. territory, so she is aware of the inequities faced by the territories.
Check the list of cosponsors. If your representative is not on the list, please reach out and ask them to join their colleagues on the right side of history.