Following the U.S. House of Representatives voted on HR 2499- Statehood for Puerto Rico, my Congressional representative Bill Posey (R-FL 15) wrote to me. Rep. Posey was one of 181 cosigners to the bill, and voted for it when it was brought up late Thursday afternoon.
Now that the smoke has cleared a little….
Numerous callers to my office today referenced 5 bullet points, which they called “Quick Facts” as reasons to vote against H.R.2499.
Below in bold type are responses to the “quick facts” in relation to the actual bill which passed today:
Here are some quick facts:
- The Puerto Rico Democracy Act would allow a federally sanctioned referendum to be conducted in Puerto Rico. Voters would be asked whether they support the present form of commonwealth government, or if they want Puerto Rico to seek a different political status. If the majority selects that they want a different political status, then another referendum would be held giving voters three options: Independence, Sovereignty in Association with the United States, or Statehood.
NOT TRUE – THE BILL WAS AMENDED TO ALLOW VOTERS TO CHOSE “STATUS QUO” WHICH THEY HAVE CHOSEN IN THE PAST.
THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME SUCH LEGISLATION WAS CONSIDERED. THE HOUSE PASSED A SIMILAR BILL WHEN NEWT GINGRICH WAS THE SPEAKER.
- Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth. Residents of Puerto Rico lack voting representation. They do not participate in presidential elections. As U.S. citizens, Puerto Ricans are subject to military service and most federal laws. In the present legislation, Commonwealth status is not an option.
PARTLY TRUE – KNOW HOW THEY GOT THEIR CITIZENSHIP?
THRU THE JONES ACT OF 1947 – WHEN AMERICA NEEDED MORE TROOPS TO FIGHT IN WWI
IF THEY VOTE FOR “STATUS QUO” THEY DO KEEP COMMONWEALTH STATUS.
- Puerto Rico has a Governor that is elected directly for a four-year term. There is a bicameral legislature. This consists of a 27-member Senate and a 51-member House of Representatives. Each of these is elected for four-year terms.
TRUE: THE GOVERNOR IS A REPUBLICAN –A CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN WHO SAT ON THE REPUBLICAN STUDY COMMITTEE (A DUES PAYING GROUP OF THE MOST CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS)
FOR SOME REASON THE “QUICK FACTS” DID NOT INCLUDE THE FACT 2008 REPUBLICAN VICTORIES IN PUERTO RICO INCLUDED;
Governor Luis Fortuno
Senate President Tommy Rivera-Schatz
House Speaker Jennifer Gonzalez
Senate Majority Leader Roberto Arango
San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini (and a Majority of mayors)
OR, FOR WHATEVER IT’S WORTH, POLLING DATA SHOWING:
78% OF Puerto Ricans are Pro-Life
85% Favor parental notification in case of abortion by minors
91% Agree marriage is between a man and a woman
86% Agree prayer should be allowed in public schools
75% Agree that displaying the Ten Commandments should be allowed on government property.
85% are Christian
51% Favor giving parents vouchers to attend private school
57% Favor instituting a system of charter schools
95% Favor requiring public schools to improve English teaching so students become bilingual
- Most Puerto Ricans do not consider English as their sole official language. No non-English speaking state has ever joined the union.
ENGLISH IS NOT THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF THE UNITED STATES EITHER. MANY STATES DO NOT RECOGNIZE ENGLISH AS THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE. HOWEVER, THAT IS IRREVELENT AT THIS POINT. AN AMENDMENT TO THE BILL WAS ADDED THAT SAYS “IT IS THE SENSE OF CONGRESS THAT THE TEACHING OF ENGLISH BE PROMOTED IN PUERTO RICO IN ORDER FOR ENGLISH-LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY TO BE ACHIEVED.”
- If Puerto Rico were to become a state of the union, it would then be allowed 2 Senators and possibly 6 – 8 Congressional members.
THIS BILL DOES NOT ALLOW PUERTO RICO TO HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL REPRESENTATION WHATSOEVER – PERIOD!
IT MERELY ALLOWS THEM TO HAVE A “NON-BINDING” PLEBISCITE/ VOTE ~ AT A TIME WHEN THE U.S.A. IS ENCOUORAGING FREEDOM LOVING PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD TO PASS ”BINDING” PLECISCITES/VOTES TO SELF DETERMINE THEIR DESTINY.
This just addresses some of the misinformation that was circulated prior to the final vote on the final version of the bill. There are many more reasons I believe it makes sense for Congress to acknowledge and encourage the NON-BINDING vote. If the voters in Puerto Rico decide they want to ask for statehood, than that is an entirely different issue to be taken up at the time. Bye the way, the liberal Puerto Rican Democrats in Congress voted against the bill! Conservative Republicans were split. Some admitted to me they voted against the bill because it was easier than trying to explain the truth. You didn’t send me here to do that. You sent me here to ascertain the facts the best I could and cast an honest, and hopefully intelligent vote. I believe that is what I did.