The United States House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs will consider “procedures regarding Puerto Rico’s political status and economic outlook” today in a hearing at the Longworth Office building, room 1324 at 2:00pm. The hearing will present another opportunity for political leaders of the territory to express themselves regarding the status issue and the economic crisis plaguing the islands. The subcommittee prepared a rather insightful and concise memo that outlines what will be addressed in the hearing.
Two panels will be heard, the first consisting of Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, as president of the New Progressive Party, Puerto Rico Attorney General Cesar Miranda, representing Governor and president of Popular Democratic Party Alejandro Garcia Padilla, and Ruben Berrios, as president of the Puerto Rican Independence Party.
A second panel will consist of former governor Luis Fortuño (R, NPP), former governor Carlos Romero Barcelo (D, NPP), former governor Anibal Acevedo Vila (D,PDP), San Juan mayor Carmen Yulin (D, PDP) and former Puerto Rico state senator Miriam Ramirez.
The hearing will be led by Rep. Don Young (R), who has traditionally supported statehood for Puerto Rico. This has prompted the PDP to complain about the hearing, alleging that the timing is not the best for Puerto Rico. This led Governor Garcia Padilla to refuse to testify. The party also complained that yesterday, The Last Colony, a documentary about Puerto Rico and the status issue was played for members of Congress. In the PDP’s view, the showing of the documentary was part of an ambush against them, since according to them, the title does not accurately reflect Puerto Rico’s status. The PDP denies the widely accepted fact that Puerto Rico is still a territory of colony of the US.
It is interesting for Garcia Padilla to decline to participate himself. While it was previously thought he was focusing on Puerto Rico’s economic situation, he will actually be in the mainland during the time of the hearing. This has led some to speculate that the executive is avoiding a repeat of his performance during the last congressional hearing on Puerto Rico.
Expect a very entertaining hearing, with some repeated information in the form of the rejection of the ‘enhanced commonwealth’ option due to its un-constitutionality, a rehashing of the argument that blank ballots are a valid form of votes and more updates on HR 727, Pierluisi’s latest bill on the status issue.
We have prepared a special page to view the hearing, along with a Twitter feed using the hashtag #PuertoRicohearing to hear your comments and reactions to the hearing as it progresses. Join us at 2:00pm for the hearing, and start tweeting your comments with the hashtag.WATCH THE HEARING