House lawmakers will unveil legislation Thursday to make Puerto Rico the 51st state in the nation, pushing to give the island equal voting and economic rights in the U.S. government amid an escalating feud between President Trump and Puerto Rico officials over hurricane relief aid.
The legislation, set to be introduced by Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) with the support of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, comes as several Democratic presidential candidates have embraced calls to grant statehood to the island, which has been mired in economic stagnation as it struggles to recover from Hurricane Maria in September 2017.
The bill is likely to spark a broader debate about its status as a U.S. territory. In Puerto Rico, statehood supporters have for decades fought with those who believe the island should push for greater independence from the United States.
Some lawmakers contend that the Trump administration’s response to Hurricane Maria, as well as the imposition of federal control over the island’s budget under President Barack Obama, highlight the danger in leaving the island subject to a government it has no role in electing. [Continue reading…]