Lawmakers Press Plan to Make Puerto Rico a State

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., are introducing a bill to pave the way for Puerto Rico to become a state.

According to Axios, the proposed legislation outlines the process for Puerto Rico’s admission into the U.S. Voters in Puerto Rico would have to ratify statehood in a yes-or-no referendum.

The proposal is backed by Puerto Rico’s nonvoting member in the U.S. House, Jenniffer González-Colón, R-Puerto Rico, Axios said.

Republican leaders have resisted past attempts to allow Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., to become states. 

But Axios noted statehood proponents say the federal government treats Puerto Rico unequally and doesn’t adequately fund programs to combat poverty and promote economic development.

“My home state of New Mexico had a similar struggle to achieve statehood,” Heinrich said. “It took 50 New Mexico statehood bills and 64 years before we were finally admitted to the United States.”

The governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, told “Axios on HBO” last month: “Of course we have to do better. But there’s no question that having two senators and four representatives in Congress batting for us when needed would make a difference.”

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