Congressman Rob Bishop (R-
Calling it “a solution that is long overdue,” Bishop said that he will make sure his committee, the House Natural Resources Committee, votes on a statehood bill before he leaves.
Bishop also spoke about preconditions. While the first AP story said that Bishop demanded that Puerto Rico solve its financial problems before statehood can be considered, Bishop actually mentioned cooperation between the PROMESA fiscal oversight board and Puerto Rico’s elected officials, along with a commitment to rebuilding Puerto Rico’s economy.
“I also realize there are certain steps to get there,” Bishop said, reiterating that he supports statehood for Puerto Rico. “They are not necessarily easy steps and what happens to the financial stability of this island is one of those key critical components.”
Bishop spoke of the path to statehood of his own home state, Utah, saying that it “should have been made a state 40 years before it was actually made a state. Sometimes you have to pass some preconditions for Washington to accept it.” The Utah territory had to make some significant changes in its constitution before Congress agreed to admit Utah as a state.
Other states have faced preconditions ranging from settling border disputes to a requirement to give up slavery. Puerto Rico’s constitution has already been approved by Congress, but there may be requirements. Congress is allowed to make any decisions it wants about territories. Bishop suggested that the Senate needs to be educated before calling a vote on statehood for Puerto Rico.
“I want to be very clear: I’m in favor of Puerto Rico statehood,” Bishop said. “If people are willing to sit down, put partisanship aside, and do what is best for the people of Puerto Rico, we will have success.”