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Puerto Rico To Push For Statehood In Congress

As Steven Taylor noted last week, Puerto Rico’s voters overwhelming voted in favor of statehood in a non-binding referendum on the island’s future. Now, the delegate to Congress from Puerto Rico says that he will push for statehood in the upcoming session of Congress:

Del. Pedro Pierluisi (D-Puerto Rico) on Wednesday said he would pursue an effort to grant Puerto Rico statehood in Congress given Puerto Rico’s vote in favor of this status change, even though Congress is expected to ignore that vote.

“As Puerto Rico’s representative in the U.S. Congress, I will work with my allies to ensure that the president and Congress take appropriate action in light of this result,” he said on the House floor. “The people of Puerto Rico have spoken, and I intend to make certain that their voice is heard loud and clear.

“After this vote, the question is not whether, but when Puerto Rico will cease to be a territory and have a fully democratic status.”

Pierluisi is perceived to have an uphill fight in convincing Congress to approve statehood for Puerto Rico, in part because of how Congress is perceiving the island’s vote.

I doubt this will go anywhere. Notwithstanding the vote last week, there seems to be very little interest at this time in the idea of bringing another state into the Union and, given the fact that it’s likely to be a state that would seen Democrats to the House and Senate, there seems to be very little reason for any Republicans to agree to the idea.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    Bennett Gershman makes a pretty compelling case that Puerto Ricans did not, in fact, vote for statehood. Regardless, I agree that the politics of this are a non-starter. We’d have to bring in one Republican-leaning state at the same time and I don’t know where we get it. Divide California in half, maybe?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  2. Geek, Esq. says:

    Of course, Puerto Ricans do vote in many states, including FLORIDA.

    Maybe the House GOP should take this a little more seriously than people are predicting they will.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. john personna says:

    Craven and un-American.

    If someone wants in, of course you let them. Separately, it’s on you to find someone crazy enough to enter as a red state.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @James Joyner: I’m sure the Texas GOP could gerrymander versions of East and West Texas that would both be reliably red.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Geek, Esq. says:

    @James Joyner:

    It’s not a given that Puerto Rico would be Democratic, or Republican in the alternative for that matter.

    Upon entering the union, their absolute best bargaining stance would be to let the parties bid for political support.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. PJ says:

    Opposing statehood for Puerto Rico?
    Is that the first step of the new GOP Hispanic outreach program?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  7. Tsar Nicholas says:

    The last time I went to Puerto Rico I vowed to retire there. One could do a helluva lot worse than a beachfront condo in San Juan. Sigh.

    In any event, obviously this is a non starter since no Republican ever would support this. There already are far too many Democrats in Congress. But I sure as hell don’t blame Puerto Rico for wanting to be a state. Right now they’re drawing the short straw as far as federal payments go for Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. Raw deal for them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  8. Davebo says:

    It will never happen, but not for the reasons James stated.

    PR has a really sweet deal right now and they won’t give it up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  9. Moosebreath says:

    @James Joyner:

    I would be in favor of dividing Alaska in half, in order to make Texas the third-largest state. On the other hand, the part of the state which does not have Anchorage and the surrounding area would likely have a population under 100,000, which may be pushing it.

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    “There already are far too many Democrats in Congress.”

    Pray tell, what is the “right” number of Democrats in Congress?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. michael reynolds says:

    Yet another opportunity for Republicans to trash Hispanics. Love it.

    As for another red state, what’s Serbia up to lately?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  11. Michael Robinson says:

    Can’t we work out some kind of deal where we let Alabama secede from and Puerto Rico join the union?

    That would save the flag replacement costs, and help out the Republican electoral prospects nationally by giving all the Tea Party extremists somewhere to emigrate to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  12. Tillman says:

    Like I’ve been saying for months now, we need to conquer Canada and Mexico. Of course we want more states! MORE STARS FOR THE FLAG!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Moosebreath:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    “There already are far too many Democrats in Congress.”

    Pray tell, what is the “right” number of Democrats in Congress?

    C’mon, Tsar is being honest. The correct number is Zero.

    And for the record, I gave his post the lone up-thumb it has. Not because I ever agree with anything he ever says, but because he is giving his honest assessment of the situation. Which I happen to think is more correct than I like.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    But I sure as hell don’t blame Puerto Rico for wanting to be a state. Right now they’re drawing the short straw as far as federal payments go for Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. Raw deal for them.

    Well, if they were as GOP as MS…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. LC says:

    I did a little bit of research on the admittance of Alaska and Hawaii. It took a number of years for the former and, based on what I read, Alaska’s admittance was finally agreed to as part of a package deal with Hawaii (one Republican state, on Democratic state).

    In short, the fact that it won’t go anywhere this year or next year is not all that important. This is the first time, I think, that Puerto Ricans have voted in favor of statehood (and, yes, I’ve read the objections to that conclusion based on the two-part ballot question) so we should just treat it as the first step. If it really matters to Puerto RIcans, it will eventually happen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  16. Ronnie says:

    I think we can work out this. Our former Governor is Republican, even if he wasn’t elected, most of the people support him, we all know that it was his republican politics what saved us from bankruptcy. Mitt Rommney was very supported here when he was running campaign side by side with Luis Fortuño. So, I don’t think this has to come into a which party we support. What I’m trying to say is, we are living difficult times. We should join forces and be a more stronger nation. Puerto Rico has been giving a lot for more then a century now. We have more soldiers in the army forces then most of the state. We pay taxes, and of course we can pay more. Puertoricans are a very hard work race. Most of the people in Puerto Rico already speak English. A big amount of our school are concentrating education based on a bilingual education platform. And since Luis Fortuño decisions on 2009 our government spent less money then almost all the other state in the nation. Our efforts in the economy are highly concentrated in the private sector. We are producing green energy like almost no other state. We have already 3 mayor solar power farms and also gas pipes that helps lower the price of the power service. So, it’s not like we don’t know what we do here. Neither is like we want money and help benefits. We are claiming for equality between United State citizens. We are claiming also yes, the right to vote for our president. Which is very fair because the president’s decisions may also affect the people of Puerto Rico. We want more representation at the congress. Is not that unfair for you guys. We have been paying many of your federal debts with our so lower tax for you pharmaceutics. We let you do business in our country almost for no cost. Walmart is just one example of many ways we puertoricans help to support economy. So, this is a two way direction treat which is going to affect very positive both lands. So, lets open our mind and vision to a new world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  17. Andre Kenji says:

    To me, the problem is that the example of the ultramarine departments of France shows that Puerto Rico would have to be able to print it´s own currency to be viable without subsidies. It risks becoming a English Speaking Reunion or Guadeloupe.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. swbarnes2 says:

    @Ronnie:

    A big amount of our school are concentrating education based on a bilingual education platform…We are producing green energy like almost no other state. We have already 3 mayor solar power farms

    You realize that those are negatives in the eyes of hell of a lot of conservatives. You are supposed to speak English only, and burn lots of coal, or you can’t be a real Americans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0