HR2757, the Puerto Rico Status Act, is once again being considered in Congress. It is in committee, and 65 members of Congress are cosponsoring it. Several members of Congress are working to get hearings on the bill and to move it toward completion.
The Puerto Rico Status Act, essentially the same bill, passed the House in December of 2022. It did not get a unanimous vote. A unanimous vote is not required to pass a law. The U.S> works on the principle of majority rule. The majority of votes wins the vote. In this case, the majority voted for he Puerto Rico Status Act.
It did not go ahead to the Senate, however, and therefore it did not become law. Now, having been introduced early in this Congress’s tenure, it has a chance to be passed by both houses before the end of the session. President Biden has already said that he will sign it if it reaches his desk.
Why hasn’t the Puerto Rico Status Act become law yet?
Last year’s Puerto Rico Status Act was introduced during the summer and didn’t reach the floor of the House until December. It faced a bumpy road along the way. It has provisions that many in Congress disagree with, including some possibly unconstitutional rules about citizenship for a sovereign Puerto Rico.
The bill also faces some old, lingering qu4stions. Click through the story linked above to see the objections made by the people who voted against the bill last year.
One of the most significant obstacles is the idea that the status of Puerto Rico is not urgent.
We see this idea in several different versions. Some claim that Puerto Rico is not in a strong enough position to think about political status. People who take this position seem to feel that the territory will need to be prosperous and completely agreed on the best path for the future before her citizens can take the time to think about statehood.
This is absurd. The territorial status is the cause of the economic crises that keep Puerto Rico distracted. Solving the status problem will lead to greater peace and prosperity. Equal rights for Puerto Rico is not available to a territory.
We also see the idea that Congress doesn’t have the time to pay attention to Puerto Rico’s status right now. While we understand that Congress has been busy with the debt ceiling crisis and many laws on subjects like wigs, regulation of the singing of the national anthem, and youth fishing, Puerto Rico has been waiting for more than 120 years for resolution of her political status. We cannot agree that there hasn’t been enough time for Congress to make this decision.
Please contact your congressional reps and ask them to get on the right side of history.