posted on Mar, 11 2015 @ 08:55 PM
originally posted by: Shamrock6
If they, and the other territories, want it then they can make it happen.
Not necessarily so. They can hold a plebiscite referendum, which they did in 2012. The 2012 election was a huge deal with 78% of eligible voters
turning up that year. 'theantidiluvian' has already posted the associated numbers pertaining to the vote itself so I won't waste time or space
rehashing it but the plebiscite referendum is really just a token vote with no actual politically binding meat to it's bones. For a Commonwealth such
as PR to become a state, the referendum is a fine start but, per Article IV, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, only Congress has the ability to
authorize the creation of a new state. Specifically, Section 3 prohibits the creation of new states from the territory of others without their
consent, or the combining of two or more states without Congressional approval. So the approval is a given based on the 2012 election/referendum in PR
so it is up to Congress to get off its lazy duff and decide whether or not they will admit PR as the 51st state.
Official admission to the Union requires Congress to draft -- and the president to sign -- a bill called an "enabling act." For Puerto Rico to
become a state, it would need to convince Congress and the president that statehood is not only in the best interest of the Puerto Rican people, but
in the best interest of the United States as a whole. The U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives would need to approve the statehood admission
by a two-thirds majority vote.
PR could petition Congress to admit it to the Union and Congress could also deny them their petition without a vote IIRC. For example, Tennessee was
denied statehood after its first petition. They then drafted a state constitution anyway, elected 2 Senators and the requisite number of
Representatives and sent them all to Washington where the US Congress refused to seat the men. They continued to lobby for statehood and obviously,
were finally admitted to the Union. This is roughly the same path taken by Alaska in their bid to become a state as well. This aggressive tactic is
called a "Tennessee Plan'. The usual, more benign method is to hold a referendum as was done by PR in 2012 and then petition Congress to allow them
to draft a Constitution. I believe that PR has already done this part back in 1951 when they first became a Commonwealth so effectively, they only
need to fulfill the last step, petition Congress to allow them to elect representatives.
The fact of the matter with PR however is that Congress is unlikely to take up their cause as they aren't going to benefit the Union as a whole by
becoming a state. The poverty level in PR is staggering and nearly double that of Mississippi at 45% which if obtaining statehood, would require
nearly $8 billion annually( not adjusted for inflation of course) in social security and Medicaid expenses alone. I think at this stage, it's far
more likely that we would see a Constitutional amendment granting unincorporated territories such as PR, Guam and the Virgin Islands the right to vote
in federal elections which aside from not paying federal income taxes is the only real difference they have between being a State vs Commonwealth. As
PR has been a part of the US in one form or another for 98 years(since 1917) and a Commonwealth with a Constitution since 1951, I think its long
overdue to grant them as well as the other unincorporated territories the ability to vote in Federal elections. They already get to vote in the
Primaries so why not allow them proper representation in Congress and the right to vote in federal elections?