Congressman Rob Bishop told NPR’s Laura Sullivan that he supports statehood for Puerto Rico. “Cong. Rob Bishop says it’s time for Puerto Rico to become a state,” she tweeted.
Here’s what Rep. Bishop said, according to Sullivan’s tweet: “They are Americans. They have a history of patriotism. They are a clear part of the country.”
This tweet is a teaser for a Frontline documentary on Puerto Rico. The story explores FEMA’s work and the problems they faced — as well as the problems Puerto Rico continues to face.
FEMA responded in the documentary, feeling defensive.
The truth is, Puerto Rico would not be in this position if Puerto Rico were a state. Texas and Florida are not in this position. They have the political power, because they have senators and congressional representatives, to get the attention of Congress. They have rights laid out in the United States Constitution, because they are states.
It’s not just seven months without power
Part of the problem is that Puerto Rico, as a territory, is powerless. Before, during, and after the disaster, Puerto Rico was not a priority for Congress and was not treated equally with the states.
But that’s not the whole problem. Because Puerto Rico has been a possession of the United States for more than a century. Puerto Rico’s power grid was allowed to fall into disrepair. Puerto Rico’s roads didn’t get the funding that roads get in states. Puerto Rico’s water system has actually been sanctioned by the EPA. Because Puerto Rico is a powerless territory, the entire island was vulnerable in a way that a state would never have been.
Rob Bishop is Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. That’s the committee in charge of Puerto Rico. By stepping up and saying that Puerto Rico should be a state, Bishop has done something important.
Only Congress can make Puerto Rico a state. Support for Puerto Rico statehood in Congress is essential for Puerto Rico’s admission. So we ask you to tweet thanks to Rep. Bishop by clicking the tweet below.Thank you, @RepRobBishop, for standing up for statehood for Puerto Rico. #PR51st Click To Tweet
Tell your legislators that you want statehood for Puerto Rico, too. Use the Sound Off widget on the right, send an email, tweet, or write a letter. Puerto Rico has formally asked for statehood and Congress can make it happen.