Supporters of Puerto Rico status convention to Hoyer: Our bill or bust

by Mar 16, 2022Bocaítos, Puerto Rico, Status0 comments

The Hill is reporting how attempts by Representative Steny Hoyer (D) of Maryland, the United States House of Representatives majority leader to find a compromise between the two current Puerto Rico status bills are being adamantly opposed by supporters of HR 2070, which advocates for a status convention that ignores the previous votes on the issue. The organizations and political leaders call the other bill, HR 1522, which calls for the admission of the territory as a state given the results of the 2020 plebiscite in which statehood won, a “one-sided, exclusionary, special interest-driven bill,” since no other option is mentioned.

Advocates gathered outside the Maryland Democrat’s district office to argue that H.R. 2070, a bill presented by Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), is a compromise bill that would allow Puerto Ricans to study their options and choose anything from full independence to statehood.

“We call on Leader Hoyer to show Democrats will abide by President Biden’s commitment to bring together all sides of this debate. That is what H.R. 2070 does and that is the legislation Mr. Hoyer must champion in Congress. H.R. 2070 is the compromise. Period,” said Melissa Mark-Viverito, chief policy officer at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center.

“We will not accept a one-sided, exclusionary, special interest driven bill that imposes Congress’ will on Puerto Ricans,” said Mark-Viverito of the Soto-González proposal.

Given the potential for conflict between two of the Democratic Caucus’s most prominent members of Puerto Rican origin – Velázquez was born on the island and Soto is the first Florida representative of Puerto Rican descent – Hoyer quietly inserted himself in the conversation as a mediator between the two bills. 

The negotiations have taken place strictly behind closed doors, presumably to avoid inflaming the passionate convictions that rule over the debate on Puerto Rico’s sovereignty.

While there have been proposals to reach a compromise to break the stalemate on the issue, it looks like intransigence will end up ruling the proceedings, likely ending in neither bill passing through Congress and becoming law.