Unlikely to pass in the Senate, but it’s nice to think so:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. House passed a bill Thursday that would allow Puerto Rico to hold the first-ever binding referendum on whether to become a state or gain some sort of independence, in a last-ditch effort that stands little chance of passing the Senate.
The bill, which passed 233-191 with some Republican support, would offer voters in the U.S. territory three options: statehood, independence or independence with free association. “It is crucial to me that any proposal in Congress to decolonize Puerto Rico be informed and led by Puerto Ricans,” said Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, which oversees affairs in U.S. territories.
The proposal would commit Congress to accept Puerto Rico into the United States as the 51st state if voters on the island approved it. Voters also could choose outright independence or independence with free association, whose terms would be defined following negotiations over foreign affairs, U.S. citizenship and use of the U.S. dollar.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who has worked on the issue throughout his career, said it was “a long and torturous path” to get the proposal to the House floor. “For far too long, the people of Puerto Rico have been excluded from the full promise of American democracy and self-determination that our nation has always championed,” the Maryland Democrat said.