Este informe no está disponible en español.

December 16, 1999

Bipartisan Report On 1998 Puerto Rico Political Status Vote Released By Congressional Leaders

Congressional Action Called For To Resolve Puerto Rico's Status Controversy

Washington, D.C. - A bipartisan Congressional report regarding the inconclusive 1998 political status vote in Puerto Rico was released today by the two highest-ranking Republican and Democrat Members of the U.S. House Committee on Resources, which has jurisdiction over U.S. territories.

The report was authored by U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), the Chairman of the Resources Committee, and U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the Ranking Democrat on the Committee.

The Young-Miller Report interprets the 1998 plebiscite results in the context of the history of self-determination in Puerto Rico since the present commonwealth relationship was established in 1952. The report calls upon Congress to approve legislation sponsoring a self-determination process based on constitutionally valid options Congress is willing to consider as an essential step in the status resolution process.

The report outlines the results of the three political status votes in Puerto Rico and states: "Given the history of previous status votes, as well as the speculative nature of any interpretation of the 'None of the Above' vote in 1998, the Committee concludes that the true will of the voters in Puerto Rico regarding their ultimate political status can only be ascertained through further self-determination in the future."

Ballot Options Dates & Results of Puerto Rico Political Status Plebiscite Votes
  July 23, 1967 November 14, 1998 December 13, 1998
Commonwealth 60.5% 48.6% 0.01%
Statehood 38.9% 46.4% 46.5%
Independence 0.5% 4.5% 2.5%
Free Association * * 0.2%
None of the Above * * 50.2%

* Only the December 13, 1998 vote included the ballot options of "Free Association" and "None of the Above".

The Young-Miller report concludes: "Congress must fulfill its moral and legal responsibility toward self determination and authorize a structured process of status resolution for Puerto Rico."

The Young-Miller report also notes that the Resources Committee recommended a Congressionally sponsored plebiscite in 1996 and 1997, and that the U.S. House complied with that recommendation with the historic passage of H.R. 856 on March 4, 1998. That was the first time in 100 years of U.S. sovereignty in Puerto Rico that either House of Congress approved legislation with self-determination options defined by Congress as constitutionally valid and appropriate for Congressional consideration.

While the U.S. Senate did not act on H.R. 856, the Senate did approve a resolution in support of Puerto Rico's self determination.

"Many of the issues that have become controversial in Puerto Rico in the last year should be resolved through a formal self-determination process, rather than through ad hoc crisis management," Young said. "Since the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico are not represented in Congress with any voting Members, the moral foundation of federal supremacy is undermined. Only a democratic process of self-determination can fix that problem.

"The efforts of the local government in Puerto Rico in sponsoring the 1998 status vote is yet one more step in the on-going process of self-determination which will ultimately assist Congress in resolving the status issue at some time in the future," Young said.

The report on "The Results of the 1998 Puerto Rico Plebiscite", Serial No. 106-A, 106th Congress, 1st Session, will be available online at the Committee on Resources web site at or from the U.S. Government Printing Office's GPO Access web site.


For more information, please check the House Committee on Resources Home Page at

# # #

Self-Determination Legislation | Puerto Rico Herald Home
Newsstand | Puerto Rico | U.S. Government | Archives
Search | Mailing List | Contact Us | Feedback