Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ever-smoldering status issue flares up in D.C.

Robert Friedman - Puerto Rico Daily Sun
Washington - December 14, 2009

Will still one more locally sponsored status plebiscite move Congress to understand the time has come to help resolve Puerto Rico’s question of all questions?

Hopefully yes, say some longtime veterans of the island’s battle of all battles.

Another island-mandated vote could be on the horizon, given the not-quite-pressing interest so far displayed by congressional and White House leaders in getting Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi’s status bill through the House, then the Senate and onto the president’s desk for his signature.

That’s the talk, at any rate, among status warriors here and on the island. While Gov. Fortuño still publicly holds out hope that the Pierluisi status bill will get on the House docket next year and easily get approved there, he seemed stumped when asked in a recent interview who will push the bill in the Senate during the 2010 election year.

One thing at a time, the governor said. That “one thing” probably will be the same one thing that happened in 1990 and 1998, when the House approved status bills and the Senate took no action on the legislation.

Even Pierluisi raised the possibility of the locally held plebiscite. The New Progressive Party platform calls for such a status vote if Congress does not act on the issue by 2010, he noted.

Amidst the usual, almost always unheeded calls for “consensus” from the politicos out of power, Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz has said he would meet with the governor to develop “an effective and intelligent strategy” on a local status bill. One of the principle questions at this point is whether the measure will mirror the Pierluisi bill, which calls for two possible votes, the first whether the current commonwealth relationship should be changed, the second, how it should be changed.

In a strange-bedfellows alliance, both Puerto Rico Independence Party official Manuel Rodríguez Orellana and NPP former Senate President Charlie Rodríguez believe in the revival of the 2005 status bill passed unanimously in the Legislature before then-Gov. Acevedo Vilá vetoed it for reasons that reasonable people are still trying to figure out.

Continue reading the full article here ..........

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