Howard Portnoy writing in the Examiner:
Although it has not received much play in the mainstream media, the U.S. House is voting today on a bill that could ultimately result in Puerto Rico becoming the fifty-first state. The notion of Puerto Rican statehood is nothing new. Residents of the commonwealth have voted three times on the question of whether Puerto Rico should become a state, most recently in 1996. Each time, residents voted to retain the island’s extant status.
This time could be the “charm” for Democrats in Congress, who see a golden opportunity in winning Puerto Rican over as a state. Seating two more senators and as many as six Congressmen likely to align themselves with the Democrats would give the party in power even more control going forward.
The resolution before the House, which leaders hasten to assure worried Americans is non-binding, would work differently from the previous measures voted on by the citizens of Puerto Rico. This bill, H.R. 2499, would have two parts. The first would be a referendum asking Puerto Ricans not whether they wanted their homeland to become a state—as in past votes—but whether they wanted to change to “a different political status.” The question seems loaded since the answer is pretty much known in advance to be “yes.” There are enough Puerto Ricans unhappy with their current political status to vote in favor of something else.
That “something else” is spelled out in part two of the legislation, which allows for three choices. In the language of H.R. 2499,those choices are as follows:
1. “Independence: Puerto Rico should become fully independent from the United States;”
2. “Sovereignty in Association with the United States: Puerto Rico and the United States should form a political association between sovereign nations that will not be subject to the Territorial Clause of the United States Constitution;”
3. “Statehood: Puerto Rico should be admitted as a State of the Union.”
Democrat money is on the citizens of Puerto Rico rejecting the first two options. That means they would opt for the only remaining option, which is statehood.