House lawmakers push for Puerto Rico statehood amid disaster relief debate

Mar 31, 2019, 01:54
House lawmakers push for Puerto Rico statehood amid disaster relief debate

Soto's legislation is the first introduced in Congress that would automatically make Puerto Rico a state, rather than calling for additional statehood referendums on the island or only allow admission after certain conditions were met, according to a spokeswoman for the congressman. The new bill is expected to find more support in the Democratic House, but may still face significant opposition from Republicans in the Senate and President Donald Trump.

"Puerto Rico's colonial status and unsustainable relationship with the federal government has gone on for over a century, even as our citizens have contributed to the growth, culture and social fabric of the United States, and stood shoulder to shoulder with our fellow citizens on battlefields around the globe and under our same flag", Rossello said in the release. Per The Washington Post, the US government is estimated to spend more on Puerto Rico's recovery over the long term.

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President Donald Trump on Thursday defended his support of Puerto Rico in its rebuilding from hurricanes, but he doesn't think officials in the USA territory are spending federal assistance wisely.

In Thursday's news release, Soto referenced disaster relief efforts as a reason to give Puerto Rico statehood.

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Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) cited a 2017 vote by Puerto Ricans.

A Washington Post poll from September 2018, a year after the storm, found that the vast majority of Puerto Ricans said they didn't think Trump had done a good job responding to the hurricane, with 80 percent of Puerto Ricans rating his job as "poor" or "fair", and only 15 percent as "good", "very good" or "excellent".

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Only 46.6 percent of Puerto Rican voters supported statehood in that 1993 referendum. He said that's more than the amount earmarked for Florida and Texas hurricane recovery.

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