The New Progressive Party (PNP) Status Committee, chaired by Luis G. Fortuño, the former Republican governor of Puerto Rico, unanimously voted to support a Puerto Rican Statehood bill that would be presented to Congress by the island’s Resident Commissioner, Pedro Pierluisi, who is also the President of the PNP.
The party’s Status Committee also considered two other proposals: President Obama’s new plebiscite proposal, and a “Statehood Yes or No” plebiscite.
A week before President Obama revealed his new plebiscite plans, which would allot $2.5 million to the vote and whose status options would need to be approved by the Department of Justice before they can be placed on the ballot, high enough sources within the PNP confirmed that Pierluisi would be presenting a statehood bill to Congress this May. The same source indicated that the Pierluisi was also working towards gaining bipartisan support for the bill, even though he has faced some criticism from statehood activists on the island. For any Puerto Rican Statehood bill to survive, it must gather bipartisan support, especially since Pierluisi caucuses with the Democrats, and the House is controlled by the Republican delegation.
Today Pierluisi spoke on the floor of Congress about statehood for Puerto Rico. He also confirmed his plans to present a bill soon.
Both Fortuño and Pierluisi have been working behind the scenes to lobby both sides of the aisles so that the Statehood bill is successful. Last January, Fortuño announced that influential conservative lobbyist Grover Norquist would be helping out the efforts to convince the Republicans in Congress.
Edwin R. Jusino is the former National Associate Vice-President of the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association, a non-profit student organization not affiliated with the New Progressive Party, that advocates Statehood for Puerto Rico. Jusino is also a Social Sciences-History graduate from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez campus.