Of course, the election results should not deter Congress from continuing to pursue ways to improve Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States. As commonwealth residents, Puerto Ricans are American citizens and serve in the U.S. military. They have a non-voting delegate in Congress, pay limited federal taxes, and cannot vote in presidential elections. For commonwealth supporters, the current political status is important to preserving Puerto Rico’s rich heritage and having greater authority over the island’s unique needs.
Until an overwhelming consensus for statehood develops, Puerto Ricans’ satisfaction with being a commonwealth should be respected.
Sen. Roger Wicker is a Republican from Mississippi. Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez is a Democrat from New York.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.