Chair Grijalva Cheers Historic Bipartisan House Passage of Puerto Rico Status Act

Washington, D.C. – House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today celebrated bipartisan House passage (233-191) of H.R. 8393, the Puerto Rico Status Act, to resolve Puerto Rico’s political status. Chair Grijalva introduced the bill on July 15 with original co-sponsors Small Business Committee Chair Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (R-Puerto Rico), Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.). The bill is a historic proposal that lays out a process for the people of Puerto Rico to make an informed choice about their political future that Congress would be required to implement.

The full bill text of the Puerto Rico Status Act is available here.

The section by section for the bill is available here.

A fact sheet for the bill is available here.

An explanation of the bill’s citizenship provisions is available here.

“I thank Leader Hoyer, the members of Congress—Reps. Velázquez, González-Colón, Soto, and Ocasio Cortez—Governor Pierluisi, the Biden administration, and the many congressional staff for the dedication, perseverance, and leadership that brought us to this historic day,” said Chair Grijalva. “This bill offers a real opportunity to end the colonization that has oppressed the people of Puerto Rico for more than a century. Now, the Senate must also act to recognize that the status quo in Puerto Rico is unjust and unsustainable. The more than 3 million Americans living in Puerto Rico and their allies will be paying close attention.”

The Puerto Rico Status Act will establish a plebiscite on the island, granting the people of Puerto Rico the opportunity to choose from three non-territory political status options—Statehood, Independence, and Sovereignty in Free Association with the United States. For the first time, the bill also describes how each of the three non-territory political status options will be implemented and the implications of each, so that voters can make an informed choice about the political status they choose. To ensure a fair ballot design, the bill outlines a review process for the plebiscite and provides for a nonpartisan voter education campaign.

Unlike past plebiscites, the Puerto Rico Status Act requires Congress to honor the will of the majority of voters in Puerto Rico and implement the result of the plebiscite.

Puerto Rico has been a territory of the United States for more than 120 years. Territory status limits the island’s full political, economic, and social development and continues to have implications for many aspects of Puerto Rican life, including access to resources and services, voting power, political representation, citizenship, immigration, trade, and more. The Puerto Rico Status Act acknowledges that the status quo is not sustainable and that it is the people of Puerto Rico who should decide the island’s political status future.

Advancing legislation to resolve Puerto Rico’s political status has been a top priority for the Committee’s Office of Insular Affairs for years. The Puerto Rico Status Act is the product of an extensive and deliberate negotiation process between the main sponsors of the H.R. 1522, the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act, and H.R. 2070, the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2021.

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