December 15, 2022
Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 8393, Puerto Rico Status Act, on a strong bipartisan basis with a vote of 233-191. The House passage of this historic legislation has demonstrated that leaders of opposing ideologies in Puerto Rico and Congress can come together in agreement on a process to finally decolonize the island.
The Puerto Rico Statehood Council (PRSC) applauds the bipartisan passage of this bill that establishes the historic precedent of an official offer from Congress to the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico to decolonize the island by allowing voters to choose among three constitutionally viable options of either “Statehood,” “Independence,” or “Sovereignty in Free Association.” Today’s vote comes after over two years of intense debate and negotiations between Puerto Rico’s only elected member to Congress, Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR), Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and various other members and leaders in Congress.
The PRSC profoundly thanks Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL), and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) for their steadfast dedication to decolonize Puerto Rico and allow the U.S. citizens that reside in Puerto Rico to choose their future political status.
After two Committee hearings, a report from the Department of Justice, a proposal by constitutional scholars, extensive bi-partisan negotiations, a three-month public comment period, a public forum in Puerto Rico and a Committee markup, where the introduced legislation was discussed and amendments were proposed and rejected, there was no reason to further delay today’s historic vote.
“House passage of this bill opens new opportunities and potentials to finally resolve America’s century old dilemma of how to end territorial colonialism in Puerto Rico. Whether Puerto Rico gets an unlikely Christmas miracle, with Senate passage of this bill next week, or whether its addressed in the next Congress, we will continue our steadfast advocacy to ensure Puerto Rico is able to finally shake off the chains of colonialism and unleash its full potential,” said George Laws Garcia, Executive Director of the PRSC.
With Congress’ recognition of its inherent responsibility to resolve the unequal, unjust and fundamentally undemocratic territory status, the PRSC will continue to push this issue forward to obtain the full equality and democracy that the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico have earned and deserve.