House lawmakers push for Puerto Rico statehood amid disaster relief debate

Rep. Darren Soto from Florida will present the bill that would automatically make the island part of the union if enacted.

""(CNN) Tensions are escalating between President Donald Trump and Puerto Rico's governor over disaster relief efforts that have been slow in coming for the still-battered island after Hurricane Maria. It has the full support of Puerto Rico's non-voting Republican representative, Jenniffer Gonzalez Colon.

The latest effort to make Puerto Rico the 51st state was introduced in Congress on Thursday amid renewed focus on the commonwealth and the USA government's response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Almost half a million votes were cast for statehood, but opnly 23 percent of eligible citizens voted. "It is shameful and it must end", said an official with the Puerto Rico government.

Only 46.6 percent of Puerto Rican voters supported statehood in that 1993 referendum. He noted that the US government was giving more money to the island than to Texas or to Florida, which also suffered destructive hurricanes. During that visit, he also lambasted Puerto Rico for creating a budget strain.

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The controversy over federal treatment of Puerto Rico intensified again this week after Trump privately fumed to GOP senators that the island is getting far too much money and that its funding should be redirected to USA states. Puerto Rico has been taken care of better by Donald Trump than by any living human being.

It's unclear how he's arrived at that number.

Rossello responded by attacking the president: "Enough with the insults and demeaning mischaracterizations". However, the new Puerto Rico renewable energy targets outlined by bill PS 1121 (which the Puerto Rico senate passed on March 25) will see the American territory stepping away from these dirty fossil fuels. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., among other candidates, have called for admitting Puerto Rico as a state if that is what the island votes to approve.

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