UPDATE, February 12, 2014, 3pmET: Sen’ Heinrich’s office responded to our query and shared the following release.
A local report from Metro PR is saying that Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) will submit a Puerto Rican statehood bill to the U.S. Senate within the next 48 hours.
Heinrich, who attended a pro-statehood November rally outside the Capitol with a few members of the House of Representatives and Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, is reported to be submitting the following bill:
If Heinrich does go ahead and submit the bill, this would be the second statehood bill submitted to Congress within the last year. In May, 2013, Pierluisi submitted his own statehood bill and last November at the Capitol rally, the island’s non-voting member of Congress hinted that a senator would soon submit a similar bill. At the time, Pierluisi did not mention who would submit the bill, although Heinrich did speak at the November event in favor of pushing Puerto Rico’s status question and respecting a 2012 plebiscite. The bill calls for a final federally ratified vote where Puerto Ricans would vote on the following question: “Do you want Puerto Rico to be admitted as a State of the United States? Yes _____ No ______.” If Puerto Ricans were to choose statehood, the proposed bill says that the President would have 180 days to submit final legislation to Congress admitting Puerto Rico as the country’s 51st state. So far, there has been not vote on Pierluisi’s House bill.
Puerto Rico’s political status has taken a back seat to recent economic news that has the current administration of Governor Alejandro García Padilla (a proponent of the island’s current territorial relationship with the U.S.) scrambling for short-term solutions to the island’s financial health. All three major credit agencies have downgraded Puerto Rico’s bonds to junk status, putting greater attention on Puerto Rico’s economic problems, not not its status issues.
Calls to Heinrich’s office for comment this morning went unanswered.