“After several months of working with our colleagues in the House & receiving feedback from community members,” the House Committee on Natural Resources announced yesterday, “we are proud to announce an agreement to introduce the Puerto Rico Status Act.”
The Puerto Rico Status Act is a compromise bill incorporating arts of both HR 1522 and HR 2070 into a law that calls for a seventh status vote for Puerto Rico. The vote would offer a choice among three options:
- Free association
The bill calls for voter education on all three options. It does not allow the ballot to include the current territorial status. If the bill passes the House and Senate and is signed into law by President Biden, Puerto Rico will not continue to be a territory of the United States, its current status.
The committee has been working for months to come up with a plan that both parties can support. A public hearing was held in San Juan and a web page has allowed everyone to comment. Now, the members of the committee hope to get a vote in the House before the recess begins on July 29, 2022.
A statement from Reps Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon, Raul Grijalva, Darren Soto, and Nydia Velazquez said, “This legislation establishes a path towards the decolonization of Puerto Rico by providing its residents with the opportunity to select between three non-territorial and fully autonomous political status options: Statehood, Independence and Sovereignty in Free Association with the United States. This historic proposal unites stakeholders from all sides of the status debate to present a democratic process to resolve the political status of Puerto Rico that Congress will sponsor and respect.”
El Nuevo Dia added more information, reporting that the revised draft provided more clarity on the citizenship question, on taxes, and on federal contributions to the Island.
The new version of the bill is to be filed in the House this week, and will be published in English and Spanish.