Make room for 51st star? Spending bill includes $2.5 million for vote on Puerto Rico statehood
The $1.1 trillion bill includes $2.5 million for Puerto Rico to vote on its political status. The money was requested by Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner, Pedro Pierluisi, D, a non-voting member of Congress who is associated with Puerto Rico's pro-statehood party. Puerto Rico's Governor, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, is associated with a party that doesn't support statehood but would prefer a commonwealth status that would allow the country to conduct its own foreign affairs.
The exact language that will be included on the ballot hasn't been determined, but Rep. Jose Serrano, D-NY, who represents a district with a large Puerto Rican population, said the inclusion of the money for the referendum was significant.
"This is an historic moment," Serrano told The Hill. "For the first time in 116 years, both houses of Congress have asked Puerto Rico to go ahead and vote on its status."
Obviously it will take a while, but I'd like to see eventual statehood. Puerto Rico could use greater development and services.