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Oppose Statehood for Puerto Rico (HR 2499)

nhteapartycoalition.org
April 29, 2010

UPDATE! Carol Shea-Porter co-sponsored this bill.

Read more about the Progressive Party of PR — the ones pushing for this.

HR 2499 – Statehood for Puerto Rico
The Obama administration is pulling out all the stops to ensure there are more votes for their side in 2010 and 2012. They are pushing for voting rights for the District of Columbia and now this…from the JBS.

There is a move afoot to have Puerto Rico become the 51st state, with voting on the bill, HR 2499, taking place as early as this week in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Three times in the past 43 years Puerto Ricans have voted against becoming the 51st state in the Union, the last time being 11 years ago. They enjoy their commonwealth status which allows them to enjoy the protection and freedoms and even financial benefits of the United States without paying federal income taxes.

HR 2499 would actually force a yes-or-no vote by Puerto Ricans on whether Puerto Rico should maintain the “current political status” of the island. This sounds innocent enough until the second part of the legislation comes into play; a second vote would have to be administered, this one giving Puerto Ricans no option but statehood or full independence if the majority expresses dissatisfaction with the current political status. Even if there is no dissatisfaction and the “current political status” is favored, every eight years henceforth from the passage of HR 2499 Puerto Rico is forced to conduct another plebiscite on the matter at their own expense.

There are several problems that must first be exposed and debated before such a move should be made. The first is that of creating a bilingual country with the addition of an almost completely Spanish-speaking state. Then there is the problem of reassigning some seats in the U.S. House of Representatives by handing at least six or seven over to Puerto Rico, depriving six or seven existing states of one representative each because of the congressionally-mandated 435 seat cap. This type of political maneuvering seems very partisan because the seats in the Senate and the House would likely be Democratic ones, and the electoral votes awarded Puerto Rico might outnumber those of 22 current states.

Before American taxpayers have to absorb and bailout another financially failing institution — this time the island of Puerto Rico — both Americans and Puerto Ricans need to know and understand that this could just be a case of politicians using this very opaque legislation as a means to whatever ends they envision for not only Puerto Rico and the United States, but also for the political dynamics this situation might bring with it in the future.

Contact your congressmen and send a message that you are unwilling to have them support such a bill until all the political, economic, and cultural details are out on the table, for both Americans and Puerto Ricans. Remind them to oppose HR 2499 on the grounds that it is a very bad move in the present economic and financial climate, with the possible political consequences precluding Americans from being in favor of statehood for the island nation of Puerto Rico at this time.

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2 Responses

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  1. earthsound says

    I don’t think H.R. 2499 is the best way forward, for several reasons, but I wanted to point out an error in your post.

    If the result of the first plebiscite results in “Puerto Rico should have a different political status”, there will be three options in the second plebiscite:

    (1) Independence: Puerto Rico should become fully independent from the United States. If you agree, mark here XX.
    (2) Sovereignty in Association with the United States: Puerto Rico and the United States should form a political association between sovereign nations that will not be subject to the Territorial Clause of the United States Constitution. If you agree, mark here XX.
    (3) Statehood: Puerto Rico should be admitted as a State of the Union. If you agree, mark here XX.

    Keep in mind, that Puerto Rican plebiscites are merely opinion polls and are non-binding upon Congress.

    Although Puerto Rico’s legal and political status is unique, most Puerto Ricans insist that they belong to a distinct nation. (see http://www.havenscenter.org/files/Nation,%20Migration,%20Identity.pdf)

    The unique political status of Puerto Rico as an unincorporated territory that “belong[s] to…but [is] not a part of the United States” (see Downes v. Bidwell 182 U.S. 244, 287 (1901); Balzac v. Porto Rico, 258 U.S. 298 (1922)) with residents who are U.S. citizens, but without full rights accorded to those residing in the 50 states of the Union, must be resolved within Congress before the citizens of Puerto Rico can fully self govern.

  2. NH says

    While it may be that this would afford PRicans the chance to totally divest from America I am sure that was not what our congress had in mind when they brought this up again.

    PRicans have always voted NO to statehood because they would have to pay federal taxes.

    When so many states would love to secede why would PR want to join?



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