Washington, D.C- Today the Resources
Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives will hold hearings here on H.R. 856, the "United
States- Puerto Rico Political Status Act". The bill,
sponsored by Committee Chairman Don Young, Republican Congressman from Alaska (See related
statements), and more than 70 co-sponsors, provides for a process leading to full self-government
for Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico is a locally self- governing
unincorporated territory of the United States. Congress has
plenary powers over the island pursuant to the Territorial Clause
of the United States Constitution. The legislation is a response
to the request of the Puerto Rico Legislature, through a concurrent resolution, asking Congress to
provide for a process of self- determination.
If approved, the bill would provide for a first
vote to be held in 1998. (See Chronology)
The year has symbolic meaning in the island, since it marks the
100th anniversary of Puerto Rico's annexation to
the United States.
Today at 11:00 am the House of Representatives
will be holding hearings on HR 856. The list of witnesses is
comprised of the following people:
Hon. Pedro Rosselló, Governor
of Puerto Rico
Hon. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá -
President of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) and Minority
Leader in the Puerto Rico House of Representatives for the PDP
Hon. Rubén Berríos -
President of the Puerto Rico Independence Party (PIP) and
Minority Leader in the Puerto Rico Senate for the PIP
Former Governor Luis A. Ferré -
Representing the New Progressive Party
Mr. Jeffrey Farrow, Co-Chair
of the Clinton Administration's Inter-Agency Workgroup -
Representing the White House
Their testimony will be recorded in this site as it becomes available.
The status issue has been continuously debated
in Puerto Rico since the beginning of U.S. control over the
island. Despite several efforts over the years, Puerto
Rico's status as an unincorporated territory of the U.S.
remains unchanged. H.R. 856 is designed to provide for
decolonization alternatives consistent with international law.
The legislation has strong bipartisan support
and is co-sponsored by Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), Majority
Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX), Cong. José Serrano (D-NY) and Cong
George Miller (D-CA), among many others. Today's hearing
will be followed by two hearings to be held in Puerto Rico on
April 19 and April 21.