Boehner’s 112 congress vote hurts Puerto Rico
Queridos amigos: Please see below one of the first acts of the new 112th Congress which strips non-voting House of Representative delegates of their already limited floor vote privileges. This, of course, includes Resident Commissioner Pierluissi of Puerto Rico. This act will effectively hinder his ability to advocate on behalf of the 4 million residents – US Citizens – on the Island. I am requesting that you consider contacting your representative regarding this issue which we, on the mainland, should take seriously because this is major for the representative political science of puerto ricans.
Now that the holidays have passed and the New Year begun, I believe that it is important for the Liderazgo Committee to begin meeting again. At that meeting, I recommend we consider extending the Committee on a statewide level – and to discuss this at the upcoming second annual Summit on Puerto Rican Affairs scheduled for May 2011.
While speaking of representation, a committee is being formed to address the issue of re-districting in the State of Florida. Due to the increase of population in our state, we have gained two additional congressional seats. A separate committee exists to encourage the creation of one new district in Central Florida with its large concentration of Puerto Ricans – in order to elect a Puerto Rican representative who will be responsive not only to all his constituents, but to issues facing our Puerto Rican community here, and on the Island. To accomplish this, we must contact our state representatives (Senate and House) to encourage them in this regard.
* “Welcome to the people’s house,” said new Speaker John Boehner — as the new Congress stripped about 4.5 million people of even symbolic representation. The House voted on party lines to approve a package of new rules that, among other things, strips non-voting delegates from the District, as well as from American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Marianas, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, of limited floor vote privileges.
The move was expected, but D.C. activists, including local Republicans, pleaded with Boehner not to make the change. The District’s case is unique in that, unlike the territories, D.C. residents pay federal income taxes.
Republican leaders argued the change was made on the grounds that the Constitution says representatives should come from the “several states.” But they also made the odd argument that delegate votes violate equal representation, since each member of the House represents about 700,000 people, while many of the territories have far fewer people. Of course, a state with 35 residents would still get a member of Congress under the Constitution, and if Puerto Rico were a state, its 4 million residents would garner it five representatives, but no matter.
In a statement, long-suffering Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton called on District officials and residents to fight “to salvage what D.C. has won in the past…because we are sure this is only the first attack on our rights.”