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Bipartisan bill aims to make Puerto Rico 51st state

By Ray Downs
Bipartisan bill aims to make Puerto Rico 51st state
A bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress Wednesday that seeks to make Puerto Rico the 51st state in the union. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

June 28 (UPI) -- A bipartisan bill introduced in Congress on Wednesday aims to make Puerto Rico a state by 2021.

The Puerto Rico Admission Act of 2018 was introduced by Republican Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón, a nonvoting members of Congress representing Puerto Rico, and co-sponsored by 36 lawmakers, including 22 Republicans and 14 Democrats.

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"This is the first step to open a serious discussion to determine the ultimate political status of Puerto Rico," González said, according to NBC News. "To sum everything up, this is about equality."

Co-sponsor Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said he commends González's efforts on the bill.

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"It continues the important conversation about the future of Puerto Rico, and I strongly support her in this endeavor. Together, we can make Puerto Rico the 51st state. Let's make it happen," Bishop said.

Last year, in a nonbinding referendum, Puerto Ricans voted overwhelmingly in favor of turning the U.S. territory into a state. A similar vote was held in 2012 with a similar outcome -- most in favor of statehood. No subsequent action, though, was taken to make it happen.

In a meeting with President Donald Trump last week, Democratic Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló urged the president to support Puerto Rican statehood, adding that the island is "open for business."

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"It's important for you to know, Mr. President, that our people have chosen twice in the last five years that we don't want to be a territory anymore. We want to be a state. We want equal treatment," Rosselló said. "Using your words, sir, you want to make America great again. I think we can make it greater and expand to make Puerto Rico the 51st state."

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