Congress has been home in their constituencies, but will soon return to session. We hope that one of the first votes taken will be a vote on HR 8393, The Puerto Rico Status Act. This bill calls for one more referendum, the first binding, federally sponsored vote on the political status of Puerto Rico. If the bill is passed, Puerto Rico’s colonial period will at last be over: Puerto Rico will become a state or a nation, and will no longer be a territory.
Ask your congressperson to take HR 8393 to the floor
Some members of Congress do not support the Puerto Rico Status Act. However, many members have not yet made up their minds. What they hear from their constituents will be one of the most I important factors in their votes. We ask you to reach out to your congressional reps, especially if you live in a state, and make sure that they understand the importance of the vote.
One group that needs to hear from us is the people who supported HR 1522, The Puerto Rico Statehood Bill, but have not yet cosponsored HR 8393. HR 8393 is not a statehood bill. It is a bill that gives Puerto Rico voters one more chance to choose their preferred status. We believe that Puerto Rico has already voted for statehood three times. It is disrespectful of the people of Puerto Rico to continue insisting on more and more votes, but it is the best chance of ending the colonial relationship that is so harmful to Puerto Rico and to the United States.
Statehood supporters should vote for HR 8393. If your reps cosponsored HR1522 and did not cosponsor HR 8393, please ask them to reconsider. One example is Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey. If you are in Rep. Gottheimer’s district, please ask him to support HR 8393. Rep. Claudia Tenney of New York is another statehood supporter who has not yet cosponsored HR 8393. If you are one of her constituents — whether you voted for her or not — please reach out to her.
Some progressive Democrats are resisting HR 8393. In many cases, they have told the press that they are hearing from their constituents that they should not support the compromise bill.
In some cases, these are people who support independence and know that once Puerto Rico votes in the final referendum they will not be able to gain this dream. They would rather see Puerto Rico continue as a colony than to see a democratic choice.
In other cases, these are believers in the mythical “enhanced commonwealth.” Again, they know that once a choice is made between statehood and independence, their dreams of a special relationship outside the U.S. Constitution will be at an end. They too would prefer to see Puerto Rico continue in its current unjust territorial relationship than to give up their dreams.
Progressive Democrats need to hear from supporters of HR8393. They need to hear that the current territorial relationship is unfair to Puerto Rico — not the “best of both worlds.” They need to realize that a democratic vote on the Island will end the colonial relationship, and that this is the highest priority.
Some Republicans are determined to reject Puerto Rico for fear of having a Democratic state. In fact, Puerto Rico will be a swing state. They need to hear this from as many people as possible to combat the misinformation they have in their minds.
Mitch McConnell famously said that statehood for Puerto Rico would be “full bore socialism.” This is a ridiculous claim, but it is based on misinformation, not on malice. A courteous educational message could help clarify the situation for these representatives.
A vote for HR 8393 is not a vote for any specific political status. In these days of polarization and division, ending the colony and giving Puerto Rico a voice is something people on both sides of the aisle should be able to agree upon.
Please contact your legislators now.