flag of Puerto Rico

Lawmakers propose Puerto Rico as 51st state

Trump said in September it would be "an absolute no" from him.

March 28, 2019 - 10:39 am

WASHINGTON (KMOX) — Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle introduced a bill Thursday that would make Puerto Rico the 51st state.

With support from Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) presented the bill that would automatically make the island part of the union within 90 days of passage if enacted.

Rosselló and Soto were joined by Del. Jenniffer González-Colón (R-Puerto Rico); Reps. Don Young (R-Alaska), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.); and Puerto Rico Senator Majority Leader Carmelo Ríos.

Thursday morning Rosselló tweeted a picture of him meeting with Soto and Ríos before the making announcement.

"Already in Congress with representative of Florida's 9th district (Rep. Darren Soto) and the majority leader of the (Puerto Rico Senate Carmelo Ríos) before an important announcement for the equality of our town."

"It is absurd that, in the 21st century, the world's greatest democracy still possess territories in which citizens are not allowed the fundamental right to vote for their president. It is shameful and it must end," an official with the Puerto Rico government told CBS News.

The bill is expected to pass the Democrat controlled House, but will more than likely meet opposition in the Republican controlled Senate. In September 2018, President Trump said in an interview with Fox News' Geraldo Rivera that it would be “an absolute no” from him in regards to considering statehood for the island territory.

"With the mayor of San Juan as bad as she is and as incompetent as she is, Puerto Rico shouldn't be talking about statehood until they get some people that really know what they're doing," Trump said about San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who is known to be a critic of the president.

While Puerto Ricans are born as U.S. citizens, they cannot vote for the nation’s president, aside from local primaries, and they do not have as many Social Security benefits or tax credits compared to the rest of U.S. citizens.

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