Yesterday, the Congressional Appropriations Subcommittee approved the Obama administration’s $2.5 million budget for the Justice Department to oversee a federally-sponsored plebiscite in Puerto Rico, according to El Nuevo Día.
The proposal states that the Justice Department must oversee a non-partisan voter education plan and a plebiscite which must include several solutions to the status issue. The White House has maintained that the current territorial status would be present in the plebiscite even though 54% of voters rejected the current territorial status last November 6.
The proposal now needs to be approved by the general Appropriations Committee, and is expected to receive amendments to ensure that Eric Holder, the current Justice Department Secretary, certify that the ballot and campaign on the plebiscite be based on constitutional law and U.S. public policy.
Meanwhile, the Senate’s Natural Resources Committee has scheduled a public hearing to examine the results of the November 6 plebiscite for Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 9:00 AM. That hearing will be held at the Dirksen Federal Building in Washington DC. The committee has invited the following individuals to the hearing: Governor Alejandro García Padilla (head of the island’s pro-commonwealth party), Rep. Pedro Pierluisi (head of the pro-statehood party and the island’s Resident Commissioner), former Puerto Rican senator Fernando Martín (member of the island’s independence party), and a representative of the Obama administration.
“We deserve fair and adequate response from the government of the nation of which we are citizens. The White House acknowledged the result [of the November 6 vote] and now it is time to take steps to address and resolve the status of Puerto Rico “said Mr. Pierluisi to El Nuevo Día.