Puerto Rican Republican Rep. Raúl Labrador Supports Statehood Bill

Rep. Raúl Labrador, a Republican from Idaho, is one of three voting members of Congress to be born in Puerto Rico. Labrador was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, while Democrat José Serrano was born in Mayagüez and Democrat Nydia Velázquez was born in Yabucoa. Since Labrador is the only Republican in Congress with birth ties to Puerto Rico, his views about the latest statehood bill presented by Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi (D), a non-voting member of Congress, matter. Getting Labrador to offer his full support of H.R. 2000 would make a big difference in Pierluisi’s push to make Puerto Rico the 51st state of the Union.

Raúl_Labrador,_Official_Portrait,_112th_Congress

This week, Labrador, who was that supportive of last year’s status plebiscite on the island, shared his thoughts about Pierluisi’s bill, said he would vote YAY to H.R. 2000, but he won’t be that involved in getting fellow Republicans to vote YAY with him.

This is what Labrador told Puerto Rico’s El Nuevo Día:

“I have a lot of things to do. But if the bill gets to the floor, I would vote in favor of it,” Labrador said in Spanish. According the END, Labrador thought that Pierluisi’s bill was a “good idea.”

Pierluisi’s bill has 34 co-sponsors, including Pierluisi. A handful of those co-sponsors are Republicans. Besides Pierluisi, Serrano is the only  other official of Puerto Rican descent who is a co-sponsor of the bill. Here is the full list of co-sponsors:

  1. House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland
  2. Republican Rep. Don Young of Alaska (yes, the “wetback” guy)
  3. Democratic Rep. José Serrano of New York
  4. Republican Rep. Peter King of New York
  5. Democratic Rep. George Miller of California
  6. Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida
  7. Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida
  8. Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel of New York
  9. Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of California
  10. Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio
  11. Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel of New York
  12. Eni Faleomavaega, the non-voting Delegate to the United States House of Representatives from American Samoa
  13. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the non-voting Delegate to the United States House of Representatives from the District of Columbia
  14. Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida
  15. Republican Rep. John Mica of Florida
  16. Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida
  17. Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania
  18. Democratic Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin
  19. Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley of New York
  20. Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida
  21. Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona
  22. Madeleine Bordallo, the non-voting Delegate to the United States House of Representatives from Guam
  23. Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota
  24. Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor of Florida
  25. Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio
  26. Republican Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois
  27. Gregorio Sablan, the non-voting Delegate to the United States House of Representatives from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
  28. Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida
  29. Democratic Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado
  30. Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida
  31. Democratic Rep. Federica Wilson of Florida
  32. Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia of Florida
  33. Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire

If passed, H.R. 2000 would authorize Congress and the White House to establish an admission process for Puerto Rico as the 51st state, if a majority of Puerto Rican voters choose statehood. Pierluisi said the following about Labrador, “Although Labrador has not joined the bill so far, I will not assume that he wouldn’t do so in the future.” Labrador, because he is a Republican, is seen as key representative if he becomes more vocal in his support. The same goes for Illinois Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D), who right now believes the bill is slanted towards a statehood option.

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