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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Resident commissioner: Status bill won’t be heard before congressional recess

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón

By John McPhaul

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón confirmed Thursday that House Resolution 8393, the Puerto Rico Status Law, will not go to a vote before Congress recesses on Friday.

“The United States Congress begins its annual legislative recess this Friday afternoon and is expected to resume on Tuesday, Sept. 13, when the discussion of such far-reaching measures as the federal budget for the following fiscal year is expected to begin,” González Colón said in a written statement. “In the process of reconciliation of the budget measure that occurs in the Senate, it is likely that the lower House will meet to approve some measure before the proposed date.”

González Colón’s statement came a day after Popular Democratic Party President José Luis Dalmau Santiago expressed pleasure at the indefinite postponement of the status bill penned by Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) and González Colón.

“The official announcement that the measure does not have the votes to go to the floor in the [current] plenary session of the federal chamber, it is not only a failure for the New Progressive Party [NPP] and the authors of that measure, but also for all those who made common cause with them to get the Commonwealth out of the ballot and create an artificial majority in favor of statehood,” Dalmau Santiago said Wednesday afternoon in a written statement. “That battle, which was uphill, was shouldered by the Popular Party, when other parties became complicit with their silence.”

Dalmau said that during his visits to Washington, D.C. he could tell that the majority of members of Congress had not even been consulted about the measure and that the NPP had not “done its job” to count votes.

He said members of Congress were not aware that the U.S. Justice Department had issued two letters saying that “commonwealth” should be included in the status plebiscite.

González Colón said she did not anticipate that the measure would go down to a vote in the tight legislative calendar, much less without a report and the pending process.

“Therefore, we will continue working in the additional time to continue seeking support for the measure that currently has authors from both parties,” she said. “This week we received the support of representatives of the island in D.C. who continue to seek support for the measure and the governor will also receive them today in D.C.,” she said. “Those who seek to misrepresent the facts, trying to project a triumph of immobility to delay the decolonization of Puerto Rico, become part of the colonial problem. Their minds colonized and clinging to the electoral backdrop of the island for electoral support to political parties in ideological decline, is an astonishing shame. They only serve their own desire to perpetuate inequality for Puerto Ricans and deny them full access to federal programs and the full development of our people. They are the same as always, those who prefer to govern a territory for their personal interests and submit our island to the decisions of others and not a future as American citizens with full rights.”

“There are those who always want Puerto Ricans to be less because their self-esteem is small,” the resident commissioner added. “The time to take action is now. This bipartisan measure has traction that has never been seen in Congress and that lays the foundation for a decolonization process that only brave and serious people are willing to support.

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia traveled Wednesday to the U.S. capital to lobby for the measure. He was scheduled to return to the island Friday.

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