Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at New York's Puerto Rican Day Parade in 2019. Photo: Erin Lefevre/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nydia Velázquez are pushing ahead with a bill in Congress that would let Puerto Rico decide its future — a proposal threatening Gov. Pedro Pierluisi's determination to pursue statehood for the island.

Why it matters: There's an urgency among supporters of statehood to get it done while Democrats control both chambers of Congress, and President Biden has been publicly supportive. But there's a growing divide within the party about whether statehood is actually the best solution for the U.S. territory.

  • During a joint phone interview with Axios on Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez said she still hasn't heard from Pierluisi, and Velázquez said she met with him virtually a few weeks ago.

Driving the news: A coalition of over 80 grassroots groups across 16 states and Puerto Rico sent a letter Thursday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, urging them to pass the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2020.

  • The bill, drafted by Ocasio-Cortez and Velázquez, calls for self-determination to decide the island’s future and doesn’t advocate for one solution, like statehood.
  • Instead, a group of delegates — elected by Puerto Rican voters — would study the issue and come up with a plan for the island’s territorial status, which includes such solutions as statehood, independence or a free association.

The big picture: This is progressives' counter-movement to Pierluisi — who campaigned on statehood and discussed the matter with "Axios on HBO" — and fellow Democrats.

  • On Tuesday, two Puerto Rican members of Congress — Reps. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) and Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico's non-voting member — introduced pro-statehood legislation.

What they're saying: Ocasio-Cortez and Velázquez say their proposal would help the decolonization process for Puerto Rico and provide a more serious way of deciding its future.

  • "The principled position — especially for the head of that colonizing power — is to say that people should have a process of self-determination and to not put your thumb on the scale of one direction or another," Ocasio-Cortez said.
  • Puerto Rico has held several non-binding referendums on its status, including becoming a U.S. state, since 1967.
  • Last November, Puerto Rico residents voted narrowly in favor of statehood (52% support to 47% against).

"This plebiscite that was conducted by the New Progressive Party was a political trick to entice people to come out to the polls," Velázquez said. She said that during her virtual meeting with Pierluisi, he told her he'd be in D.C. more often, lobbying for statehood.

  • "It's highly suspect when anyone is trying to prescribe an outcome for millions of people," Ocasio-Cortez said.
  • "We have to think about how ridiculous this is that the entire future and status of a colony of the United States should just be determined by a simple ballot referendum."

Pierluisi believes now is his time to achieve what his party wants — statehood — because Democrats control Congress. But he's learning early on in his administration that it’s not that easy, especially if progressives have a say.

  • Democrats are divided on whether statehood is the right move, and some say the reality of getting it done in this Congress remains slim because there are so many other things both parties are prioritizing.
  • The congresswomen say the outside support for their bill is a win because they're focused on building momentum outside of Congress and with constituents who are part of the Puerto Rican diaspora.
  • "It is important for members of Congress to get educated on this issue and know we cannot play political football with Puerto Rico," Velázquez said.

Go deeper

White House now says Biden will move to increase refugee cap by May 15

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The White House on Friday afternoon said President Biden plans to lift the Trump-era refugee cap by May 15.

Driving the news: The announcement follows stinging criticism from several Democrats and rights groups, who said Biden was walking back on his pledge to raise the limit. Earlier Friday, Biden signed a directive to speed up the processing of refugees, but kept the Trump administration's historically low cap of 15,000 refugees for this year.

Suspect in FedEx shooting identified as 19-year-old former employee Brandon Hole

Crime scene investigators walk through the FedEx parking lot in Indianapolis the day after a mass shooting left nine dead, including the gunman, who took his own life. Photo: Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images.

The suspected gunman who killed at least eight people and wounded several others in Indianapolis before killing himself has been identified by local police as 19-year-old Brandon Hole, a former FedEx employee, a company spokesperson told the AP.

The latest: At least 100 people were in the FedEx warehouse at the time of the shooting, authorities said Friday. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Deputy Chief Craig McCartt told reporters that Hole worked at FedEx through 2020. He did not specify the circumstances of Hole’s departure.

The legacy of Bernie Madoff

Bernie Madoff, architect of the largest Ponzi scheme in American history, died on Wednesday in federal prison, 11 years into his 150-year sentence.

Axios Re:Cap digs into Madoff’s crimes, what they revealed about America's financial system and what changed after the scheme came crashing down with Diana B. Henriques, author of the The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust.