A mostly Democratic bill that would put Puerto Rico on a path toward U.S. statehood is the most popular legislation on a House Republican website that allows citizens to “cosponsor” legislation.
Last week, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced the GOP’s new “Citizen Cosponsor Project,” which he said is a way to show Americans the legislation Congress is considering, and let them support the bills they like. Cantor said the project would “foster national conversation and improve communication between the American people and their elected officials.”
The website (https://www.cosponsor.gov/details/hr2000-113) suggests several Republican bills for people to “cosponsor,” including bills that would streamline federal job training programs, repeal a portion of ObamaCare and boost border security.
But as of Monday afternoon, the bill with the most citizen co-sponsors is one from Del. Pedro Pierluisi (D-Puerto Rico) — his Puerto Rico Status Resolution Act, H.R. 2000, has more than 1,000 “cosponsors.”
Pierluisi’s bill would create a process for consideration of Puerto Rico as the 51st state, and is a reaction to last year’s vote on the island that he says indicates new support for statehood.
Many Republicans oppose the bill, as many believe it would expand the number of people applying for federal benefits. However, the bill does have some GOP support, from Reps. Don Young (R-Alaska), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Pete King (R-N.Y.), John Mica (R-Fla.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Aaron Schock (R-Ill.).
Congressional staff said last year that Congress is not expected to consider the Puerto Rico bill, in part because it is likely that more than half of the island’s residents don’t support statehood. In addition, they noted that Puerto Rico’s new governor, Alejandro García Padilla, is known to oppose statehood.
The second most popular bill on the site is the Fair Tax Act, H.R. 25, from Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.). That bill would reform the tax code by repealing income and employment taxes and imposing a national sales tax. That bill has the support of more than 800 citizen co-sponsors.
Third on the list is H.R. 1417, the Border Security Results Act, which would require a strategy for gaining operational control of the border. Fourth is the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, H.R. 1797, which would ban abortions in Washington, D.C., after 20 weeks.
After those bills are legislation to repeal ObamaCare, set up a committee to report on the Benghazi attack and defund ObamaCare.