Wicker Pledges Opposition to Puerto Rico Democracy Act if Bill Reaches the Senate

Wicker Says Bill "Stacks the Deck in Favor of Statehood"

April 29, 2010

WASHINGTON – In advance of an expected House vote on the Puerto Rico Democracy Act, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today issued the following statement in opposition to the bill:

“I have long been opposed to the Puerto Rico Democracy Act because it sets up a two-vote process that unfairly stacks the deck in favor of statehood, and I will do whatever is necessary to stop the bill if and when it comes to the Senate.  The people of Puerto Rico have a right to determine the island’s future status in a fair and democratic process.  They deserve to have a choice between the current commonwealth status, statehood, and independence.  Eliminating commonwealth status from the vote disregards the wishes of a majority of Puerto Ricans,” said Sen. Wicker.  “In the past, I have introduced legislation that would recognize Puerto Rico’s right to convene a constitutional convention, a process that would lead to consensus building and not the exclusion of the majority of Puerto Ricans from their inherent right of democracy.”

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Puerto Rico Democracy Act on Thursday.  The legislation would set in motion a two-vote process to determine the island’s status.  Currently, the primary options being considered for Puerto Rico are independence, statehood, and commonwealth.  If the two-vote process under the Puerto Rico Democracy Act is adopted, the people of Puerto Rico would be forced to vote for commonwealth or all the other options combined. This would effectively eliminate the commonwealth option, which is favored by a large portion of the population, in subsequent votes.

Sen. Wicker has long supported a process for the people of Puerto Rico to determine for themselves the style of government they desire. The fairest process would leave all options on the table and ensure equal opportunity for each option to be democratically selected by the people.