This is Very Serious
Apparently there is to be a vote later today on a bill regarding Puerto Rican statehood. They are calling it “non-binding” but it is not non-binding! It is a trap. The bill makes eventual Puerto Rican statehood a virtual certainty. This is despite the fact that statehood has been voted down repeatedly. The Puerto Rican people don’t want it!
This is a huge issue. The Puerto Rican people have always rejected statehood but, as James M. Simpson points out in the post, this bill is designed to force statehood. Read the whole thing, especially this part:
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a senior Democrat Congressman no less, just posted his views on this bill at Huffington Post. Here is what he has to say about it:
I am a senior Democratic Member of Congress, whose parents were born in Puerto Rico, and for whom Puerto Rico self-determination has been – and remains – a central issue of my congressional career. This statehood bill is the opposite of self-determination.
It is designed to craft an artificial majority for statehood where none exists now. Every time the people of Puerto Rico have been consulted on this issue through a plebiscite they’ve said NO to Statehood. NO to Statehood in 1967. NO to Statehood in 1993. NO to Statehood in 1998. This should be called the “Don’t you dare say NO to Statehood Bill”.
But he is just getting going. Listen to this:
When a similar Puerto Rico bill came up under Speaker Newt Gingrich’s Republican controlled Congress a decade ago, it was the product of lengthy and thorough hearings and an open and fair process. Then, I was given time to offer seven amendments. Then I was able to clarify the bill for the Puerto Rican people. Then, each of my seven amendments got 30 minutes of floor time for debate.
Flash forward to now. Now a Democratic Majority Congress is only allowing me two of the 16 amendments I offered in the Rules Committee on Wednesday. Now I only have 10 minutes to debate each one.
Now, under Democratic Leadership, we get one hearing, no forewarning, no companion Senate bill, and a debate only a few seconds longer than a NASCAR pit-stop…I get more time to debate renaming a Post Office than I will get to debate a bill that could make Puerto Rico the fifty-first state.
In my opinion, this bill is the political equivalent of a shady Goldman Sachs derivative: It’s secretive. It lacks transparency. It’s likely to blow up down the road and cause systemic risk to out democracy. And those who put this political derivative together don’t really tell you what this is really about and will play dumb when it explodes.
Also at issue is the fact that Puerto Rico will gain 6 or 7 representatives and 2 senators. The big problem there is that since we are at the maximum of 435 representatives, those 6 or 7 will come from other states. Additionally, given the income levels in Puerto Rico, we’ll have a huge number of new people who qualify for government benefits.