Key Congressional leader says he supports Puerto Rico statehood – with a caveat

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United States Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, who chairs the House committee overseeing U.S. territories, said he supported statehood for Puerto Rico.

Bishop made the comment at a press conference Friday in San Juan with Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón. Bishop is chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.

González Colón, Puerto Rico’s nonvoting representative in the U.S. Congress, submitted a bill for statehood in 2017.

“I am fully supportive of what she’s trying to do,” Bishop said. “I am supportive of statehood. I think it is the solution that is long overdue.”

Bishop said he realized that there were certain steps that would have to be taken before Congress could make Puerto Rico a state.

“What happens with the financial stability of this island is one of those key critical components,” he said.

“Sometimes you have to have some preconditions before the culture of Washington will accept [statehood],” Bishop said.

Bishop acknowledged that there couldn’t be an Oversight Board if Puerto Rico were a state.

Before Congress would support statehood there would have to be a vibrant economy in Puerto Rico and a stable government that is fiscally sound, Bishop said.

González Colón said she was planning to put all recommendations made by a Congressional task force on Puerto Rico’s economy into one bill. The task force was created as part of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act and released its recommendations in the winter of 2016-2017.

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