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1 Hearings by the Territorial and Insular Affairs Subcommittee of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, January 20, 1976, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
2 HR 11200, 94th Congress.
3 In the 1996 general elections, the top vote getter among the 19-member prostatehood majority in Puerto Rico's 28-seat Senate.
4 Elected as Vice Chairman in December 1996, Senator McClintock will become Chairman of the Council of State Goverments in December 1998. He does not appear in these hearings in that capacity, although CSG's Eastern Regional Conference recently resolved:
"WHEREAS, all necessary rules and regulations respecting territories or other property belonging to the United States is vested in the United States Congress by Article IV, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution.
WHEREAS, the quadrennial general election conducted on November 5, 1996 produced an absolute majority of Puerto Rico's voters casting ballots for a gubernatorial candidate publicly committed to seeking Congressional sponsorship of a political status plebiscite for Puerto Rico and that same commitment is shared by the Puerto Rico delegate to the United States Congress elected on that date, as well as by over two thirds of the members of both bodies of the Puerto Rico Legislative Assembly
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE EASTERN REGIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE COUNCIL OF STATE GOVERNMENTS:
SECTION 1. Urges the One Hundred and Fifth United States Congress to enact legislation that will, no later than the 1998 centennial of the United States of severeignty over Puerto Rico, provide for a Congressionally authorized mechanism of referenda or plebiscite for political self determination by the American citizens who reside in Puerto Rico.
SECTION 2. Urges the National Executive Committee of the Council of State Governments, at its Spring Meeting, to approve a similar resolution.
SECTION 3. Directs staff to send a copy of this resolution to Council of State Governments' National Officers, the Governor, Speaker of the House of Representatives and President of the Senate of Puerto Rico and its resident Commissioner to the United States Congress."
5 From 1993 to 1996, Sen. McClintock chaired the Committee on Federal and Economic Affairs. His study on IRC Section 936 won national attention, attracting ABC correspondent Sam Donaldson to his office for an interview on ABC Prime Time Live which aired in June, 1993. His early work on that committee led to his midterm appointment as Chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee, while retaining both chairmanships. During this term, both committees were merged into the Committee on Governmental and Federal Affairs, which he chairs.
6 Plessy v Ferguson, 163 US 537, is the 1896 case in which the United States Supreme Court declared constitutional the separate and unequal treatment of Afro-American citizens, a case which was later struck down in several contemporary cases, notably Brown vs Board of Education of Topeka, 347 US 483, 1953, which held that separate is inherently unequal.
7 As a result of hearings chaired by Senator McClintock, movie distributors now make movies available to exhibitors much sooner than before, allowing some to open here simultaneously with their nationwide opening. The delay, however, still averages several weeks.
Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. Angel Cintron-Garcia.
FOR THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, PUERTO RICO HOUSE OF
Chairman Young, Mr. Miller, Mr. Romero-Barceló, and members of the Committee on Resources of the U.S. House of Representatives, my name is Angel Cintron-Garcia. It is my privilege to continue serving the people of Puerto Rico in our House of Representatives for a third term as an at-large representative for the prostatehood New Progressive Party. I am currently chairman of the Committee on Federal and Financial Affairs. Today I have the honor of testifying on behalf of the House Speaker.
In 1995, I testified before a joint hearing of the Subcommittee on Native and Insular Affairs regarding the results of the plebiscite of political status held in 1993 here in Puerto Rico. Back then, many local pundits spoke about the lack of resolve on your part to finally address and bring to an end the issue of Puerto Rico's self-determination. Nonetheless, you proved them wrong again when youand we are gratified—by your renewed commitment to address this issue early on in this, the 105th Congress.
As time maybe more on our side this time around, I think it is extremely important to address all concerns that various Members of Congress might have regarding the various aspects of the bill, particularly the definitions contained within. That way, we will make sure that this process is a successful one. Therefore, in my case, I want to dwell on the concern brought forth by some Members of Congress regarding the issue of language in the case of statehood.
Concerns brought forth by some Members with regard to this issue have been twisted and misconstrued by the opponents of statehood. They argue that the true motive behind those concerns is a deep bedded racism toward Hispanics and other minorities within the United States, irrespective of whether they are U.S. citizens or not. Instead, these narrow-minded individuals here in Puerto Rico try to portray our Nation as being culturally monolithic, rather than taking into consideration the multicultural character of American society and its long and venerable history that is widely recognized as one of the United States' greatest strengths.
Nonetheless, I want to reassure those Members of Congress that we share most, if not all, of their concerns, especially our common quest for national cohesiveness between Puerto Rico and the 50 States. That is why I feel that this issue goes even further than just sharing a common language. It involves a respect for a series of values, as put forth by our Founding Fathers in the Constitution. Also, it entails a respect and commitment for such valued institutions such as the U.S. Armed Forces and others.
Still, in the last 4 years as chairman of the Select Committee on Banking Affairs, I had the honor of sponsoring important legislation that provides for further threads of national reform that I spearheaded. As part of banking reform that I spearheaded, we adopted the 1994 Riegle-Neal Act here in our island, allowing for further interaction between local and national banking institutions. I also sponsored legislation amending our international banking law, thus providing a very important tool for the availability of funds for mainland and local companies interested in financing their export of products and services in regional trade.
In addition, I sponsored another important measure that allowed for the adoption of the UCC, Uniform Commercial Code, here in Puerto Rico, replacing our old mercantile act. This provided for easier commercial relations between the Government, companies in the mainland U.S., and Puerto Rico.
This term, as chairman of the Committee with jurisdiction over banking, I intend to update all the additional banking laws, including the creation of a currency exchange center here in Puerto Rico.
Last year, as chairman of the Select Committee on Telecommunications, I sponsored six measures which brought about an overhaul of the telecommunications market in Puerto Rico in accordance with all the recent FCC rulings. This year, as chairman of the Committee with jurisdiction over this area, we intend to update these laws in accordance with the FCC rulings and relevant court decisions.
These measures provide a much needed and very useful common ground with most Federal and State laws, facilitating indefinite and commercial connection between mainland businesses and local enterprise, obviously, going even further in striving for the common goal of national cohesiveness than just implementing a language provision in this bill. They obviously exploit our island's competitive advantage due to its location and its bilingual work force in order to maximize our potential as a bridge between the Americas, as a gateway for the United States and the rest of the hemisphere.
We can be an asset. We know that we can stand on our feet. We have all confidences in our people. We only need the opportunity to express our desire to be equal persons with the other 50 States. As our Governor says, “Lo mejor que está por venir."
In conclusion, we deserve to have a bill signed by the President of the United States later this year so that not another year goes by without us having the opportunity to finally achieve equality within the United States. One hundred years is more than enough time for the United States to act over an issue that affects the approximately 4 million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico. Please, make House Resolution 856 a reality.
God bless Puerto Rico and our children. God bless America. [The prepared statement of Mr. Cintrón-García follows:)