U.S. House passes bill for vote on Puerto Rico’s status
Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the Caribbean Sea. It was first inhabited by the indigenous Taíno people, who arrived on the island thousands of years ago.
During the Spanish colonial period, Puerto Rico became an important military and naval base, as well as a major center of the Caribbean slave trade. In 1898, following the Spanish-American War, Puerto Rico was ceded to the United States and became an unincorporated territory.
Despite the fact that Puerto Ricans are citizens of the United States, they do not have a vote in presidential elections and are not represented in Congress by members who have voting rights. They are also required to comply with United States federal laws, but they do not have a vote in the legislature that drafts those laws. Many people living in Puerto Rico have lobbied for the territory to be recognized as a state, while others have called for greater autonomy or independence for the territory.
After more than a decade, Puerto Ricans would be given a chance to vote on whether they want to obtain some kind of independence or become a state, with the sole difference being that the results of the referendum would be binding on the federal government. The United States House of Representatives voted last week to allow voters in the U.S. territory to vote in November 2023 on a binding referendum on whether to become the 51st state, an independent country, or a sovereign state in free association with the United States. The result was 233 in favor and 191 against.
Called the Puerto Rico Status Act, this plan was supported by 217 Democrats and 16 Republicans in the House. Now that the House has passed the Puerto Rico Status Act, it must get the support of at least 60 senators for it to be signed into law by President Joe Biden. Experts think the plan has little chance of passing in the Senate because it would definitely increase the number of Democratic votes in the country. However, it is a step in the right direction for Puerto Rico’s long-held dream of self-determination.