SAN JUAN—After the New Progressive Party (PNP) announced yesterday that they would be working with Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi (D) to promote a statehood bill for Puerto Rico, governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla (D) criticized the entire announcement in a radio interview with local NotiUNO 630 AM.
García Padilla, who heads up the island’s pro-commonwealth Popular Democratic Party (PDP), told NotiUNO the followng: “The PNP is in a different direction than [President] Obama”, making a reference to the bill proposed by Pierluisi, and the announcement of a proposed federal budget for a new plebiscite.
“El PNP esta en otra dirección diferente a Obama” AGP sobre propuesta de admisión de Puerto Rico como estado.
— NotiUno 630 (@notiuno) April 30, 2013
Both Pierlusi and García Padilla are members of the Democratic Party, and while García Padilla governs Puerto Rico, Pierluisi represents Puerto Rico in Washington as a non-voting member of Congress. The political gamesmanship has become quite evident. So far, there are no signs of it slowing down. For example, right after García Padilla’s interview, one of the main PNP Twitter accounts, Alerta Progresista, called the governor a liar, and linked to a December 4, 2012 news article by ABC titled: “White House ‘Clarifies’ Puerto Rico Stance: Majority Backed Statehood.”
— Alerta Progresista (@aprogresista) April 30, 2013
The ABC News article includes a statement from White House spokesperson Luis Miranda: “To clarify, the results were clear, the people of Puerto Rico want the issue of status resolved, and the majority chose statehood in the second question. Now it is time for Congress to act and the administration will work with them on that effort, so that the people of Puerto Rico can determine their own future.”
According to the precedent of the Northwest Ordinance, as well as the U.S. Constitution, it is Congress, and not the President of the United States, who addresses the issue of admitting new states into the Union. The Northwest Ordinance states that after a bill is submitted and approved by Congress, a territory must again vote to accept the terms imposed by Congress for admittance into the Union. These terms must be equal to the terms of previously admitted states.
On various occasions García Padilla has been highly critical of last November’s plebiscite results and was proposing a Constitutional Assembly to resolve the status issue, right up until President Obama announced the budget for a proposed new plebiscite.