Democrats Introduce Bill to Make Puerto Rico a State

Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Representative Darren Soto (D-Fl.) have introduced a measure that would make Puerto Rico the nation’s 51st state.

The proposal, also supported by Puerto Rico’s nonvoting member in the United States House, Jenniffer González-Colón (R-Puerto Rico), outlines a process to make the territory a state should it be ratified by Puerto Rican voters or approved in an island-wide referendum. The measure sets a timeline for a referendum vote, declaration of Puerto Rican statehood, and an election for the Puerto Rican congressional delegation.

Henrich noted that his own state had a decades-long path to statehood.

“My home state of New Mexico had a similar struggle to achieve statehood. It took 50 New Mexico statehood bills and 64 years before we were finally admitted to the United States,” he said.

Republicans have often pushed back against such a plan, arguing that it would give Democrats an unfair advantage.

After they change the filibuster, they’re going to admit the District as a state,” then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said last September. “They’re going to admit Puerto Rico as a state. That’s four new Democratic senators in perpetuity.”

A referendum in November found that 52% of Puerto Ricans favored statehood. 47% opposed it.