Friday, April 30, 2010

Will Puerto Rico Be the 51st State?

By a margin of 223-169, the House passed a bill on Thursday that could allow Puerto Rico to vote on whether or not it wants to be the 51st state. The legislation still needs to make it through the Senate, but if passed, Puerto Rico would be faced with a two-step vote about their relationship to the U.S. First, the territory would vote on whether they want to change their status from a "self-governing commonwealth," and next, they'd decide whether they prefer independence, statehood, or "sovereignty associated with the US." An amendment passed soon after added a fourth option: retaining the status of commonwealth. While the proposal has worked some right-wing pundits up into a lather—Glenn Beck described Congressmen who support the bill as "sheep being led to slaughter"—it's also been praised by American Puerto Rican lawmakers. "For the first time in 112 years, the Congress of the United States will ask the 4 million American citizens in Puerto Rico what they wish their relationship to the United States to be," Rep. Jose Serrano said on Thursday. Historically, Puerto Rico has rejected opportunities for either independence or statehood.

Credits: Slate

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