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House approves legislation requiring a legally binding referendum on Puerto Rico’s statehood.

The vote was 233-to-191, with 16 Republicans breaking ranks and joining Democrats in backing the measure. The legislation would authorize a vote in Puerto Rico to decide whether to become a state, an independent nation or a country “in free association with the United States”. Residents of Puerto Rico have voted three times to become a state, most recently in 2020. The last time the U.S. added new states was nearly six decades ago. Puerto Rico has struggled for years with high debt, low employment and academic performance. Republicans argue that the bill would short-circuit a deliberative process.