UPDATED: HR 2000 gets James Clyburn as cosponsor
In a surprising move, Representative James Clyburn (D-SC) has signed on as one of the 95 cosponsors of HR 2000, the Puerto Rico Status Resolution Act introduced by Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR). Clyburn has been aligned with the Popular Democratic Party, opposing any measures promoted by the New Progressive Party.
The relationship between Clyburn and the PPD has been such that Clyburn appeared in a 2004 campaign video endorsing then PPD gubernatorial candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila, and was part of the group of congressional democratic leadership who helped bring about the death of HR 900 back in 2008.
Traditionally, NPP officials within the democratic party have been closely aligned with Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who Pierluisi favored, over Clyburn as a matter of fact, to hold the Minority Whip position in the US House of Representatives during the beginning of the 112th Congress.
The support of the bill by Clyburn comes off as even more bizarre considering his ties to lobbyists currently on hire by the Government of Puerto Rico through its Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration office, who have been revealed to be illegally lobbying Congress against the results of the 2012 status plebiscite.
We’ve reached out to Pierluisi’s office for comment and will update this post accordingly. UPDATE: Pierluisi’s office has replied with the following statement from the Resident Commissioner:
“I am pleased that Representative James Clyburn, the third highest ranking democrat in the House of Representatives, is a cosponsor of the H.R. 2000 bill. It is important to point out that representative Clyburn also voted in favor of H.R. 2499, my bill about the status of Puerto Rico, that was approved by the House in 2011, despite the of the active opposition of the Popular Democratic Party. Therefore, the idea that Congressman Clyburn is an “ally” of the PDP is wrong. The truth is this: the members of Congress are hearing our arguments in favor of H.R. 2000 and why it is a fair and appropriate bill. They are also hearing the arguments presented by the government of Garcia Padilla, PRFAA, and their lobbyists in opposition to the bill. Having heard both sides, close to 100 congressmembers, among them Congressman Clyburn, have reached the conclusion that the arguments in favor of the bill are stronger than those against. It seems to me that members of Congress have realized that the PDP will oppose any legislative effort that seeks to resolve the status of Puerto Rico, and will always fabricate some reason to oppose advances in this topic.”
As of this update, HR 2000 has 98 cosponsors in the House, with Rep. Gabbard (D-HI) and Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR) being the last two members of Congress added to the list.