US House approves referendum on Puerto Rico’s future | Politics News

The bill, which is unlikely to pass in the Senate, would give Puerto Rican voters a choice between statehood and independent forms.

The US House of Representatives has passed a bill allowing Puerto Rico vote for a binding referendum on statehood or independence – a largely symbolic measure unlikely to pass in the Senate.

The House of Representatives passed the proposal, dubbed the Puerto Rican Status Act, in a 233-191 vote on Thursday. The proposal calls for a vote next November to “resolve the political situation of Puerto Rico.”

This measure would give Puerto Rican voters the opportunity to choose between independence, sovereignty in free association with the United States, or statehood. The referendum will not include Puerto Rico’s current status as a commonwealth of the United States.

“Many of us disagree on what that future should look like, but we all accept that the decision must be with the people of Puerto Rico,” said Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez, representing no. the island’s vote in the US Congress said. .

But with Congress, who The deadline will expire at the beginning of next monthAs the bill is coming to an end, the proposed legislation has little chance of being passed by the Senate, let alone surpassing the 60-vote threshold required to pass in the 100-member senate.

On Friday, 16 Republicans in the House of Representatives joined Democrats in voting for the bill.

“It is important to me that any proposal in Congress to decolonize Puerto Rico is informed and led by Puerto Ricans,” said Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva, chairman of the Finance Committee. The House of Representatives Natural Resources, which oversees affairs in the US territories, said.

Puerto Rican residents are U.S. citizens but have practically no representation in Congress and cannot vote in U.S. general elections.

Once a colony of Spain, this Caribbean island was acquired by the US in 1898 after the Spanish-American War. With more than three million people, it is the most populous U.S. territory that is treated differently than the country’s 50 states.

For example, the The Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that Puerto Ricans do not enjoy the same federal welfare benefits as citizens living in the states.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Friday it’s been “a long and arduous road” to get the proposal to the floor.

“For too long, the people of Puerto Rico have been excluded from the full promise of American democracy and self-determination that our nation stands for,” Hoyer said.

Radical Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, originally from Puerto Rico, hailed the bill as a “turning point” that would allow the island to decide its own future.

“Although Puerto Rico is not the only colony of the United States, it is the oldest of the colonies of the United States,” Ocasio-Cortez said ahead of the vote.

“Today, for the first time in our nation’s history, the United States will acknowledge its role as a colonial force and Puerto Rico’s status as an expanded colony.”

Key Republican congresswoman Elise Stefanik, who voted against the bill, said while she supported statehood for the island “if that’s what the people of Puerto Rico decide to pursue. “, she opposed the bill because it would allow independence.

“The United States should bring the more than three million American citizens in Puerto Rico closer, instead of pushing them further away,” Stefanik said in a statement.

“This last minute bill was brought to the floor by Nancy Pelosi without a committee hearing on the text. A proposal as complex and impactful as becoming a state requires careful consideration and debate.”

In 2020, Puerto Rican voters narrowly supported statehood in a non-binding referendum that did not include independence.

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