House passes bill to move Puerto Rico toward 'self-governing status'

Move is meant to "decolonize" territory, Democrat says.

Published: December 15, 2022 2:09pm

Updated: December 15, 2022 2:17pm

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill that would put Puerto Rico on the road toward what the legislation calls a "permanent, nonterritorial, fully self-governing status," what one lawmaker suggested was an act of "decolonization." 

Puerto Rico currently exists in diplomatic limbo as an unincorporated U.S. Territory. The law, called the "Puerto Rico Status Act,"  would potentially put the territory on the path to become a fully incorporated U.S. state, the first in decades. 

Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva, the sponsor of the bill, told media it was "crucial to me that any proposal in Congress to decolonize Puerto Rico be informed and led by Puerto Ricans."

The bill stands little chance of passing in the Senate due to Republican disapproval. The upper chamber is still split between Republicans and Democrats. 

The U.S. acquired territorial jurisdiction over Puerto Rico following the Spanish-American War and the Treaty of Paris of 1898. 

The last state to be admitted to the Union was Hawaii, in 1959. 

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