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April 13, 2023
The House passed a bill this Thursday that would allow Puerto Ricans to vote in the first-ever binding referendum to either join the U.S. as the 51st state or gain independence.
The Puerto Rico Status Act, backed by the Biden administration, passed the House 233-191, with 16 Republicans joining 217 Democrats in voting to forward the bill to the Senate.
The Act would allow Puerto Ricans decide their own government – that of their own or of the United States. The bill would require that the federal government honor whatever decision they come to.
“For far too long, the residents of Puerto Rico—over 3 million U.S. citizens—have been deprived of the opportunity to determine their own political future and have not received the full rights and benefits of their citizenship because they reside in a U.S. territory,” wrote Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona. “H.R. 8393 would take a historic step towards righting this wrong by establishing a process to ascertain the will of the voters of Puerto Rico.”
If the island did vote for independence, they would retain some U.S. affiliations.
However, many doubt that the bill would gain enough votes among Senate Republicans since Puerto Ricans generally lean left – thereby giving Democrats a big boost in voters in the upcoming 2024 presidential election.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CFR.ORG