San Juan – The senator of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), Aníbal José Torres, denounced this Sunday that Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González was absent or did not participate in the voting to which she was entitled 95 times in a 15-month period, which placed in the fifth position of absenteeism among all members of the federal House of Representatives and the Hispanic with the highest number of absences at the time of voting in the full committees.
“So much so that he spends his time criticizing and lamenting that he does not have the right to vote in Congress and now it turns out that, when he is allowed to vote in full committees, he decides to absent himself or not participate 95 times in just 15 months. With that record, Jenniffer Gonzalez obtains the embarrassing distinction of being the fifth representative of all members of Congress to be absent and the Hispanic with the highest number of absences when casting their votes in the consideration of measures, “Torres said in statements written.
“It is no longer enough that inaction and carelessness caused us to lose $ 1 billion from Medicaid; The offense of going on a tourist trip to 38 countries outside the United States on six different continents is not enough, but now she does not vote when authorized to do so and even while in Congress, she does not appear or cast her votes. It is time for a change in Washington with a full-time commissioner and not a tourist paid with public funds, ”said the senator.
Since 1993, the United States Congress allows the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico and the delegates of the territories and possessions of the United States to vote in the Committee in Full.
“The opportunity to participate and vote in these processes is a very effective way to insert and persuade other members to listen to arguments or ways of voting,” Torres said.
According to official data, in a 15-month period, the Resident Commissioner had the opportunity to vote 316 times, having been absent at the time of voting or not casting her vote 95 times.
In 2019, Jenniffer González had the opportunity to vote 291 times, but did not vote 90 times, for 31 percent of voting absences.
The same pattern continued in the first months of 2020, because of a total of 25 eligible votes – between January and March – the commissioner did not vote 20 percent of the time.
“The innumerable embarrassments that the PNP has put us before the federal government seem to be endless. Now they also extend to the federal Congress. Those who said that there were no funds for being an Commonwealth now say that there is money to spare and those who complained that they could not vote like the rest of the congressmen, now they do not appear when that benefit is granted to them. Obviously, the incapacity and negligence of this government has no limits, ”Torres concluded.
Absences in the voting of the plenary committees
Since 1993, the United States Congress allowed for the first time the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, and the delegates of the territories and possessions of the United States, to vote at the meetings of the Committee in full (Committee of the Whole).
This participation mechanism is a way in which the United States Congress meets as a Committee of the Whole with the purpose of accelerating the consideration of legislative measures and amendments, given the fact that parliamentary rules and processes are less strict than those that govern the Hemicycle (floor). This is what is called the Committee of the Whole.
This procedure, historically, has been honored by Democrats when they control the federal Chamber, since it is there where there is representation of Puerto Rico and the territories through the resident commissioner or delegates without the right to vote.
The rule, however, provides that, if the votes of the resident commissioner and / or the delegates are decisive in the approval of a measure, a new vote is carried out without their votes being counted for the final decision.
According to the record of the Federal House of Representatives, through the vote of the Committee in Plenary, in a period of 15 months, the resident commissioner had the opportunity to vote 316 times, having been absent at the time of voting or not exercising your vote 95 times. These were:
Year 2019 – Out of a total of 291 eligible votes, he did not vote 90 times, for 31 percent of voting absences.
Year 2020 – Out of a total of 25 eligible votes (between January and March), the commissioner did not vote or was not present 20 percent of the time (5 out of 20 votes)
This record places the resident commissioner in the fifth position with the highest number of absences in the entire federal House of Representatives, which is made up of a total of 441 members, including 435 congressmen and 6 delegates without the right to vote, namely: Puerto Rico, Guam, US Samoa, US Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, and Washington DC.