Skip to comments.Puerto Rico Democracy Act – Legislation Biased in Favor of Statehood
Posted on 04/28/2010 6:55:23 AM PDT by MNJohnnie
According to Majority Leader  Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the House will vote on H.R. 2499 , the Puerto Rico Democracy Act, later this week. The legislation provides Puerto Rico a two stage voting process and makes some non-resident Puerto Ricans eligible to vote on Puerto Rican statehood. This legislation has rigged the process in favor of making Puerto Rico the 51st state and is not a fair way to force statehood on a Commonwealth whose people may not want it. Furthermore, this may be an expensive proposition for the American people who are already on the hook for approximately $12.9 trillion  in national debt.
This bill attempts to rig the voting process and denies the American people a real say on the issue of whether they want to allow Puerto Rico to be granted statehood. The fact of the matter is that Puerto Ricans have rejected statehood numerous times and this bill seems to have been written in a way to fast track statehood without a majority of Puerto Ricans favoring the idea. Furthermore, the people of the United States should be allowed a vote on whether they want to admit Puerto Rico as a new state. If the people of Puerto Rico can vote, the people of the United States should have a vote.
The legislation contains many questionable provisions. First, the legislation sets up a voting process rigged for success. The legislation sets up a preliminary vote and the voters are given two options. If a majority of Puerto Ricans vote in favor of changing the status of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to a different political status, then a second vote would be scheduled to poll voters on the following three options:
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; and, 3. Statehood: Puerto Rico should be admitted as a State of the Union.
Clearly, a plurality of the people of Puerto Rico could vote for Statehood without a majority of the people voting ever supporting the idea. The people of Puerto Rico have rejected statehood three times and it seems that this vote is set up to allow a simply plurality of the people to carry the day.
Another odd provision allows non-resident Puerto Ricans to vote on statehood for the Commonwealth. The bill states that all United States citizens born in Puerto Rico who comply, to the satisfaction of the Puerto Rico State Elections Commission, with all Commission requirements (other than the residency requirement) applicable to eligibility to vote in a general election in Puerto Rico. Residency requirements may be waived, because Puerto Ricans living in the states would naturally favor statehood for the Commonwealth.
This provision allows non-resident Puerto Ricans to undermine the will of the residents of the Commonwealth. According to the U.S. Census , there are more Puerto Ricans residing in the 50 states, than in the proposed 51st state. The estimates as part of the American Community Survey estimates that out of the 301 million people in the United States, 4.13 million are of Puerto Rican descent. The Census  also estimates that the population of Puerto Rico is a mere 3.97 million. This would allow for the will of the residents of the Commonwealth to be overridden by people who have chosen to move one of the 50 states.
The Congressional Budget Office  (CBO) put out a report dated July 28, 2009 on H.R. 2499. The CBO report estimated that there would be no score for this bill, because it only authorizes a vote, but if Puerto Rico was granted statehood the cost would be massive. My boss, Edwin Feulner wrote in 1997 piece titled Do We Need a 51st State?  in an era of government downsizing and balanced budgets, it would increase entitlement spending (welfare, Medicare, Social Security) by an estimated $3 billion per year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Those arguments still hold water today. The Lexington Institute  argues that Puerto Rico, which received $18 billion in direct federal expenditures in FY 2008, has a population with a median national income of $17,741, nearly a third below that for the United States. While eligibility for many major federal social programs is the same in both jurisdictions, others, like the Food Stamp Program, include different eligibility requirements. This would likely result in increased federal expenditures should statehood be achieved, but a lack of comparable data makes cost projections for such changes difficult. It is clear that the cost of statehood to the taxpayers will be high.
The Puerto Rico Democracy Act has some serious flaws. The votes seem to be set up in a way that favors statehood. The two provisions that allow a plurality of Puerto Ricans to vote for statehood to be ratified and the allowing of non-resident Puerto Ricans to vote in the plebiscite is of deep concern to those who favor a fair vote and referendum on statehood. A vote by members of Congress is not enough to indicate consent of the American people for Puerto Rican statehood. If the Obamacare vote and secretive procedure is instructive, many Members of Congress are willing to defy the will of their own constituents.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2010/04/27/puerto-rico-democracy-act-%e2%80%93-legislation-biased-in-favor-of-statehood/
URLs in this post:
 Majority Leader: http://democraticleader.house.gov/links_and_resources/whip_resources/weeklyleader.cfm?pressReleaseID=4122
 H.R. 2499: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:h.r.02499:
 $12.9 trillion: http://www.usdebtclock.org/
 U.S. Census: http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ADPTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=01000US&-qr_name=ACS_2008_3YR_G00_DP3YR5&-ds_name=&-_lang=en&-redoLog=false&-format
 Census: http://www.census.gov/popest/states/tables/NST-EST2009-01.xls
 Congressional Budget Office: http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/104xx/doc10486/hr2499.pdf
 Do We Need a 51st State?: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Commentary/1997/10/Do-We-Need-a-51st-State
 Lexington Institute: http://ppdpr.net/hr2499/lexington_institute.pdf
HR 2499 Statehood for Puerto Rico
The Obama administration is pulling out all the stops to ensure there are more votes for their side in 2010 and 2012. They are pushing for voting rights for the District of Columbia and now this
There is a move afoot to have Puerto Rico become the 51st state, with voting on the bill, HR 2499, taking place as early as this week in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Three times in the past 43 years Puerto Ricans have voted against becoming the 51st state in the Union, the last time being 11 years ago. They enjoy their commonwealth status which allows them to enjoy the protection and freedoms and even financial benefits of the United States without paying federal income taxes.
HR 2499 would actually force a yes-or-no vote by Puerto Ricans on whether Puerto Rico should maintain the current political status of the island. This sounds innocent enough until the second part of the legislation comes into play; a second vote would have to be administered, this one giving Puerto Ricans no option but statehood or full independence if the majority expresses dissatisfaction with the current political status. Even if there is no dissatisfaction and the current political status is favored, every eight years henceforth from the passage of HR 2499 Puerto Rico is forced to conduct another plebiscite on the matter at their own expense.
There are several problems that must first be exposed and debated before such a move should be made. The first is that of creating a bilingual country with the addition of an almost completely Spanish-speaking state. Then there is the problem of reassigning some seats in the U.S. House of Representatives by handing at least six or seven over to Puerto Rico, depriving six or seven existing states of one representative each because of the congressionally-mandated 435 seat cap. This type of political maneuvering seems very partisan because the seats in the Senate and the House would likely be Democratic ones, and the electoral votes awarded Puerto Rico might outnumber those of 22 current states.
Before American taxpayers have to absorb and bailout another financially failing institution this time the island of Puerto Rico both Americans and Puerto Ricans need to know and understand that this could just be a case of politicians using this very opaque legislation as a means to whatever ends they envision for not only Puerto Rico and the United States, but also for the political dynamics this situation might bring with it in the future.
Contact your congressmen and send a message that you are unwilling to have them support such a bill until all the political, economic, and cultural details are out on the table, for both Americans and Puerto Ricans. Remind them to oppose HR 2499 on the grounds that it is a very bad move in the present economic and financial climate, with the possible political consequences precluding Americans from being in favor of statehood for the island nation of Puerto Rico at this time.
Who in the hell wants to change the flag?
Yee haw democrats galore.
The Progressives. Losing the vote in the mainland, they are in desperate bid to find new voters. This, Amnesty, Statehood for DC, voting rights for felons etc etc etc
The single worst part of H.R. 2499, dubbed the Puerto Rico Democracy Act, is that it would allow former Puerto Ricans to vote in a pro-statehood advisory referendum even if those former residents are already registered voters in a U.S. state. Instead of voting "early and often," this might be called the "vote here, there and everywhere" stratagem. It is fundamentally undemocratic at its core.
More transparency from zero....
The lefties want PR to become a state, so they can then complain about US Imperialism and and fight for independence.
It will give them something to fill their time instead of just watching daytime TV.
Besides a star, the liberals will probably want a stripe for them too. Keep ‘em as they are, or let ‘em go free.
We can simply nullify the state of PR by creating the state of Eastern California.
Or the State of Florida Minus Palm Beach County....
Sounds unconstitutional to me.But then,although I don't live there I'd love to vote in NH.
Don’t think for a moment that the horsetrading over this will not include DC as a state because there is no question the Congressional Black Caucus will tell the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that the price for their support is DC statehood.
Be interested in hearing your thoughts on this if you have the time.
Is there any way to get this pinned over on ‘Breaking News’ or ‘Front Page’?
Yoopers have expressed an interest in becoming their own state over the years as well.
They’ll likely vote Dem. Even if they voted R, they’d only give us 1 extra seat in congress and 3 electoral votes.