House approves Puerto Rico statehood measure

John Brandt Chad Pergram

The House voted Thursday to allow Puerto Ricans to decide their own political future and relationship with the United States.

The bill passed 223-169 and now must be taken up by the Senate.

The bill introduced a two-step ballot measure for Puerto Rico to decide if its residents want to change their current relationship with the United States. If they vote to change their status, they can then choose to become a state, pursue independence, or seek some other “political association between sovereign nations.” ‬‪ ‬‪

Puerto Rico became a U.S. territory at the end of the Spanish-American War. Those born on the island were granted U.S. citizenship in 1917 and Puerto Rico gained commonwealth status in 1952.

Today, Puerto Ricans serve in the military but can’t vote in presidential elections. They do not pay federal income tax on income earned on the island.

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