Congress Drafts Puerto Rico Status Act

Congress Drafts Puerto Rico Status Act

Members of the United States House and Senate are drafting a new Puerto Rico Status Act in an attempt for Puerto Rico statehood, or another status, to gain more traction on Capitol Hill than the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act.

The Puerto Rico Status Act would allow Puerto Rico’s residents to vote on 3 different options: statehood, sovereignty in free association with the United States, and independence. The island’s current territorial status is not one of the options that would be on the ballot.

The new bill would set a vote to take place on November 5, 2023, and if no option gains a majority vote, then a runoff election would take place in March of 2024.

Regarding the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stands opposed to the bill, and has gone on record by stating, “I don’t agree with them, I’m not going to support their [Puerto Rico] statehood bill.” This bill has gained no traction in the U.S. Senate.

ProEnglish Board of Directors Chair Dr. Rosalie Porter has stated that “any legislative attempt by the island to become the 51st state must stipulate that English become its primary official language of the government, courts, and school system.”

Dr. Porter added: “Let’s remember that the 2011 recommendations from President Barack Obama’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status says that if the U.S. commonwealth ever applies for statehood, Congress has ultimate authority over admission and English must play a central role in the daily life of the island. At a minimum, we believe a large majority must become fluent in English for statehood to be even considered.”