In an interview published in English on Friday by Puerto Rico’s El Nuevo Día newspaper, Florida senator Marco Rubio (R) said that there is no political appetite for a Puerto Rican statehood push in the Senate.
Here is what reporter José Delgado wrote about Rubio’s comments:
“What I would like is to avoid a defeat. That would be regrettable because then people are going to say, ‘that was already voted in the Senate’ and unfortunately many of the people who would vote against still do not understand the issue,” Rubio said in an interview on Wednesday with El Nuevo Día, when asked if he will submit a bill in favor of Puerto Rico becoming state 51.
A new statehood bill is expected to be submitted later this month by Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González, a non-voting member of Congress. According to Rubio, however, that might not be a great idea.
Rubio told Delgado that a vote for statehood does not have the necessary 60 Senate votes. In addition, the story reported, “at times when assistance to address the catastrophe caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico is being requested, it would not be possible to get the attention of [Rubio’s] colleagues on statehood.”
“I have to choose the subject, and right now I have to tell them about the hurricane,” Rubio told END. “I cannot talk to them about two things at once. I understand what Jenniffer is submitting and I share that idea. What I’m saying is that in the Senate right now we do not have 60 votes.”
Earlier this month, the Puerto Rican government sent a statehood commission to the nation’s capital, but the visit was lost in the news cycle. And the whole statehood is complicated, as we have written before.