Puerto Rico’s non-voting representative in Congress is introducing a bill that seeks to make the U.S. territory a state by 2021. Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez said Wednesday that 14 Democrats and 20 Republicans currently sponsor the bill among the 435 members in the House of Representatives.
“This is the first step to open a serious discussion regarding the ultimate status for the island,” Gonzalez said. The Republican sponsors include the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, and the chairman of the Indian and insular affairs subcommittee, Rep. Doug Lamalfa of California.
The bill calls for the creation of a bipartisan, nine-member task force that would submit a report to Congress and to the President identifying laws that would need to be amended or repealed so Puerto Rico could become a state. The panel would also be instructed to recommend temporary economic measures to help the island Rico in the transition to statehood.