What: All Issues : War & Peace : (H.R. 2499) Legislation requiring Puerto Rico to hold a referendum on whether to become a state, an independent nation, or a sovereign entity that "freely associates" with the United States -- On a motion to table (kill) a motion to reconsider (a motion which essentially calls for a revote) the vote on the resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to the bill (2010 house Roll Call 233)
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(H.R. 2499) Legislation requiring Puerto Rico to hold a referendum on whether to become a state, an independent nation, or a sovereign entity that "freely associates" with the United States -- On a motion to table (kill) a motion to reconsider (a motion which essentially calls for a revote) the vote on the resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to the bill
house Roll Call 233     Apr 29, 2010
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This was a vote on a motion to table a motion to reconsider the vote on the resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to legislation requiring Puerto Rico to hold a referendum on whether to become a state, an independent nation, or a sovereign entity that "freely associates" with the United States. The House had passed this resolution, and the motion to reconsider essentially asked the House to vote on it again. If Puerto Rico chose to freely associate with the United States, it would essentially become a self-governing entity, but not an independent nation.  (The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is currently a territory of the United States. Since it is not a state, Puerto Rico lacks representation in the United States Senate. While Puerto Rico does elect a delegate to the House, that delegate lacks the full voting rights enjoyed by House members from the 50 states.)

The bill provided that the referendum determining Puerto Rico’s future would take place in two stages. First, voters would choose between maintaining the status quo, and changing the nature of Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States. Specifically, voters could choose between the following two options: “(1) Puerto Rico should continue to have its present form of political status. If you agree, mark here XX. (2) Puerto Rico should have a different political status. If you agree, mark here XX.”

If a majority of voters chose the second option – to change Puerto Rico’s political status – a second referendum would be held. That referendum would allow Puerto Ricans to vote for independence, statehood, or free association.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) made the motion to reconsider the vote on the resolution. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) then made a motion to table (kill) Gutierrez's motion. There was no debate on either motion. During floor debate on the resolution limiting amendments to H.R. 2499, however, Gutierrez had sharply criticized the process by which Democratic leaders chose to bring the bill to the House floor. Gutierrez noted that when the House had considered a similar bill when Republicans controlled Congress, the amendment process had been less restrictive: "First of all, I really think that if you're going to talk about democracy [in Puerto Rico]…then you have to deal with the process, and this process is just patently unfair. I thank the majority for two amendments. That was nice. But isn't it interesting that as a Democrat--100 percent Democrat, one that has been consistently a senior Democrat--that when I came down here in 1998…when it was a Republican-sponsored bill and I went before the Rules Committee, I had seven amendments ruled in order. Each amendment was given 30 minutes."

The House tabled (killed) Gutierrez's motion to reconsider the vote on the resolution limiting amendments to H.R. 2499 by a vote of 199-186. 196 Democrats and 3 Republicans voted "yea." 165 Republicans and 21 Democrats voted "nay." As a result, the House proceeded to formal floor debate on legislation requiring Puerto Rico to hold a referendum on whether to become a state, an independent nation, or a sovereign entity that "freely associates" with the United States.

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