Oppose H.R. 2499, Statehood for Puerto Rico
There is a move afoot to have Puerto Rico become the 51st state, with voting on the bill, H.R. 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.
H.R. 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 H.R. 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 H.R. 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.
For further information on this issue, read “Legislation Promotes Statehood for Puerto Rico.”
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