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.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.