Newly sworn Central Florida Congressman Darren Soto (D) plans to push for the presidential vote for Puerto Rico.
It’s the second Puerto Rico-related measure in as many days, as newly elected Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González today filed a fill to admit Puerto Rico as the 51st state.
There is no doubt that Puerto Rico’s status needs fixing and obtaining the presidential vote for Puerto Rico is a worthy cause. And to be fair, Alan Grayson, Soto’s predecessor, last December called for the presidential vote for Puerto Rico, stating American citizens who reside in Puerto Rico suffer from disenfranchisement.
“The contradictions are painfully clear,” he added, comparing Puerto Rico to Washington, D.C., whose residents vote for president although it’s not a state.
However, González’s bill likely is dead on arrival, as will be Soto’s.
“Siéntate a esperar,” said a Facebook reader in reaction to the news.
“Dream on sister!” wrote another in response to González’s bill.
Let’s count the ways in which this will fail. First, the representatives are two newbies in Congress, meaning they have no clout. Second, Puerto Rico is in such a financial mess that no one will touch this. And third, neither of the bills is realistic.
Soto, who has said he would be supportive of Puerto Rico, is not backing Gonzalez’s bill, stating that first he’d like to see a clear referendum. He won’t need to wait long. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricky Rosselló is proposing one.
However, Soto’s presidential vote for Puerto Rico bill would be far more difficult to achieve, requiring two-thirds approval by the House and Senate – and ratification by three-quarters of the states. It’s an often unsuccessful process.
The last amendment was approved in 1992, stipulating that congressional salary increases cannot take effect until the next class of representatives takes office. That amendment took over 200 years to see fruition.
What could Soto be thinking? He is drinking from the cup of status.
The González-Soto proposals are feel-good measures aimed at winning the hearts and minds of constituent’s back home. Soto is the first Puerto Rican from Florida in Congress. His district is over 40 percent Latino, mostly Puerto Rican.
But it also plays cruelly with the hearts and minds of constituents back home, because the bills aren’t feasible in today’s political climate. They would be extreme long shots even in a favorable Congress.
This is political manipulation of a pueblo down on its luck and in a precarious emotional state of mind.
˜˜Maria Padilla, Editor