Puerto Rico Status Act Stalls In Congress
The Puerto Rico Status Act stalled in the 117th Congress, and the bill now once again will have to start from scratch in the new 118th Congress.
The bill was able to pass in the U.S. House in the 117th Congress, but Democrats were unable to find 10 Republicans in the U.S. Senate in order to pass it and send it to the White House.
The Puerto Rico Status Act would give Puerto Rican voters a say in whether the island becomes a U.S. state, an independent country, or some other form of non-territory status.
Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) stated that the bill had “no path forward in the Senate.” Republicans also argued that the bill would essentially fund Puerto Rico’s sovereignty or statehood without demanding anything in return, such as payment of taxes.
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.”