HOUSE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES ISSUES FAVORABLE REPORT ON RESIDENT COMMISSIONER’S LEGISLATION
States News Service (April 22, 2008)
WASHINGTON — The following information was released by the office of Puerto Rico Rep. Luis G. Fortuno:
The Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2007, co-sponsored by Congressman Jose Serrano and Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuno, advanced another step today in the U.S. Congress when the Committee on Natural Resources in the House of Representatives issued the official Committee Report for the bill (H.R. 900), which authorizes a self-determination process for Puerto Rico. The Report, which follows in the wake of the bill’s approval by the Committee on October 23, 2007, states that the legislation will enable Puerto Ricans to vote in a Congressionally-authorized plebiscite on the Island within a year of the bill’ enactment.
With this Committee Report, we have taken another step towards our goal of providing the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico with a just, representative and constitutionally-viable process to put an end to the ambiguous political environment in which we currently live, said Fortuño, who praised the facts and conclusions contained in the Report.
In the Report, the members of the Committee observed that after 110 years, Puerto Rico’ 3.9 million U.S. citizens still have an unsettled political status. The Committee Report reiterated the fact that although Congress has the authority to manage the self-determination process for Puerto Rico based on constitutionally-viable options, a Congressionally-sponsored vote in Puerto Rico has never taken place in more than a century under U.S. sovereignty.
This Report proves wrong those who have insisted that Congress does not want to attend to the issue of Puerto Rico’ status, said the Resident Commissioner, who noted that in the last three years Congress held four hearings regarding this legislation which culminated in the Committee’s approval of the legislation in October, and that all of this was accomplished despite the open opposition of Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vila. The Report reiterates that all peoples are entitled to a form of government that provides for equal voting representation in the making and implementation of their laws.
I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress to ensure that my constituents enjoy a just self-determination process and that we achieve our goal of a political system that guarantees us equal rights, said Fortuño, who thanked his colleagues on the Committee for the work they did in preparing the Report.