By BYRON TAU | 12/4/12 11:53 AM EST
The White House clarified its stance on Puerto Rico statehood Tuesday, saying that the results of a November plebiscite were clear — and that Congress should now move forward on resolving the island's political status.
"To clarify, the results were clear, the people of Puerto Rico want the issue of status resolved, and a majority chose statehood in the second question," White House spokesman Luis Miranda said. "Now it is time for Congress to act and the administration will work with them on that effort, so that the people of Puerto Rico can determine their own future."
Puerto Ricans voted in November to end their current association as a self-governing U.S. commonwealth in November, 54 percent to 46 percent. In a separate question, a majority of residents choose statehood at their preferred option for resolving that status.
On Monday, asked what the Obama administration was prepared to do in the aftermath of the vote, White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the referendum results were not as "clear" as a simple majority due to the two question process.
White House officials stressed that Congress must now act to help Puerto Rico decide on its future status — and that only Congress could approve a statehood petition.
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