PUERTO RICO DEMOCRACY ACT OF 2007
To provide a self-determination process
for the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico
- The bill would implement a process recommended by the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status established by President Clinton and comprised of senior appointees of President Bush. The Task Force’s report reflected agreements between the administrations of both Presidents Bush and the Clinton Administration on key issues. The bill is also consistent with the national Democratic and Republican Party Platforms.
- It would provide for a plebiscite in Puerto Rico during 2009 on whether the Commonwealth should continue to be a territory of the United States or seek a non-territory status compatible with the Constitution of the U.S.
- If continuing territory status is chosen, plebiscites would be held at eight-year intervals to ensure that Puerto Ricans have an orderly process to seek a status that is democratic at the national government level.
- If Puerto Ricans vote at some point to seek a new status, a plebiscite would be held on the non-territory options — nationhood, either fully independent from or in a non-binding association with the United States, or U.S. statehood.
- After a new status is chosen, the President’s Task Force would be required to report to Congress on the measures that would need to be taken to implement the selected status.
- Funding for the plebiscites would be provided from the current grants to Puerto Rico for general government purposes.
- The bill was sponsored in the last Congress by 111 Members of the House, including the lone, non-voting representative of the 3.9 million U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico. A companion bill was sponsored by 15 senators led by Mel Martinez and Ken Salazar. Sponsors of the bill in this Congress include the chairman and ranking minority member of the committee of jurisdiction (Natural Resources).