Puerto Rico’s status within the U.S. has always been muddled, as there has never been an official agreement. But the residents that reside on the island have been vocal about the problems with their status over the years. There have been problems over this status, like the hurricane relief in 2017. The come-and-go efforts of the U.S. leave a bitter feeling for Puerto Ricans being overlooked, and they may even feel dismayed about America’s colonization of the island.
Roughly ten years ago, the house attempted to make a similar move that ultimately led nowhere. However, as of Thursday, the house has passed the Puerto Rico status Act with a vote of 233 to 191. The bill grants Puerto Rico the opportunity to put it to a vote of three options. It proposes that Puerto Rico may choose to become a state, gain independence, or have freedom while continuing to have some ties to the U.S.
If passed, the decision may go any of three ways; however, in November 2020, a ballot for statehood referendum allowed Puerto Ricans to vote yes or no. The result was a leading 53% in favor. The bill still must pass through the Senate, however, and with the republican dominated seats, it is not very likely it will give. The main opposition is that if chosen to be recognized as a statehood, it could bring more democratic voters into the fold.
Either way, no matter how the senate votes, this bill is a significant step forward in acknowledging the gray area that Puerto Rico lies in currently—functioning both as a state and a foreign depending on the U.S. interests.
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