Puerto Rico Statehood For 2020 Election Law Announced In Congress & Trump Is Raging

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It’s been sixty years since the U.S. granted statehood to its 50th state, Hawaii, and a bill to add a 51st state has now been proposed in Congress. Supporters argue that citizens of this country who pay taxes should be given a voice in U.S. elections, especially considering that we have a president who can withhold funds from disaster funds from Puerto Rico in the face of thousands of deaths and months without electricity and clean water.

Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL) said the bill should be voted on without holding another election for Puerto Ricans to weigh in, and instead use the results of past elections on the matter considered. An election that was held in 2017 showed that 97 percent of Puerto Ricans supported statehood, but Congress did not vote to grant them statehood.

According to NBC News, Soto released a statement saying:

‘Puerto Rico’s colonial status in not working … Puerto Ricans need their own U.S. senators and representatives to fight for their needs and hold Washington accountable,” the congressman said at a press conference in Washington announcing the new legislation. “This bill is about respecting democracy.’

The bill demands that Puerto Rico be granted statehood within 90 days of the bill’s passage, which would mean that a 51st state would have electoral college votes in the next presidential election. The issue is sure to become a talking point in the lead-up to 2020.

‘Puerto Rico’s future has become a key campaign issue for Democrats and Republicans alike ahead of the 2020 elections, especially following the island’s severe fiscal crisis and the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017, which killed at least 2,975 people.’

Critics of the bill argue that the bill cannot be introduced without a new election that allows Puerto Ricans a vote. It’s unlikely, however, that the 97 percent who supported the bill one year ago would have changed significantly. After the 2017 vote, NBC News reported that:

‘For the pro-statehood government, the vote allows Puerto Rico to tell Congress there is support for statehood. The Puerto Rican government will emphasize that 97 percent of voters in the plebiscite said they want Puerto Rico to be the 51st state.’

Featured image via Flickr by Toni Sylvanen under a Creative Commons license