July 21, 2022
Significant Step Forward with Committee Passage of Bill to End Puerto Rico’s Territory Status
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the House Natural Resources Committee passed a historic bipartisan bill to definitively resolve Puerto Rico’s territory status H.R. 8393, the Puerto Rico Status Act. The bill commits Congress to offer a final self-executing choice to voters on the island on which one of the three non-territorial status options they prefer: statehood, independence, or independence with free association. George Laws García, the Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Statehood Council (PRSC) issued the following statements:
“The bipartisan passage of the Puerto Rico Status Act out of Committee represents significant progress in a legislative effort that is over 120 years overdue. Simply put, America should not have colonies. This bill finally provides the 3.2 million U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico the opportunity to choose if they want to achieve full equality and voting rights at the federal level under ‘statehood’, or if they want to begin the process of becoming a separate country through ‘independence’ or independence with ‘free association’”
“We want to express our sincere gratitude to Leader Hoyer, Chairman Grijalva, Resident Commissioner González-Colón, Rep. Soto, Rep. Velázquez and all other members and staff who worked to get the bill out of Committee. While the bill is not perfect, that is the nature of compromise legislation. As everyone knows, to get things done in Congress the perfect cannot be the enemy of the good enough. Real legislating is the art of the possible.”
“Committee passage of this bill opens the door for its consideration on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, and we strongly urge Congressional leadership to schedule that vote as quickly as possible. We also call on the Senate to remember that they too have a responsibility to begin taking action to help end territorial colonialism in Puerto Rico. Time is running out in this session of Congress, and every day that Congress delays action on this matter the injustice of territorial colonialism drives more people to leave the Island putting its present and future in further peril. Congress must not waste the current window of opportunity to finally put an end to 500 years of colonialism in Puerto Rico.”
Background: Last June, the PRSC led a letter to Congress urging immediate legislative action to definitively resolve the issue of Puerto Rico’s outdated and failed current territory status. That communication, which was endorsed by a multitude of organizations from across the country and the political spectrum, expressed support for the discussion draft of the Puerto Rico Status Act.
The Puerto Rico Statehood Council is a Washington, D.C. based, non-partisan, 501(c)4 non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the goal of equality for the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico through statehood.