January 26, 2007

REP. BECERRA REINTRODUCES LATINO MUSEUM COMMISSION BILL

Representative Xavier Becerra (CA-31), Assistant to the Speaker and the only member of Congress from Southern California on the House Ways and Means Committee, reintroduced legislation yesterday that would establish a commission to explore the possibility of creating a national museum in Washington, D.C., focused on the artistic, cultural, and historical contributions of American Latinos.

“There is no better way to try to understand the American story than by walking through the National Mall in the capital of the United States and visiting our superb national museums where you can learn about who Americans are and where we have been,” Rep. Becerra said. “But it nevertheless remains an incomplete picture. Although American Latinos have made and continue to make significant contributions to the culture and history of the United States, many of those contributions go unrecognized in the official narrative.”

Once signed in to law, H.R. 512, the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of the National Museum of the American Latino Act, would set up a 23 member commission charged with producing a national conference to bring stakeholders, experts, policymakers and other interested parties together to discuss the museum’s viability; a fundraising plan to create an extensive public-private partnership; and a report to Congress detailing a recommended plan of action on how to move forward with taking the museum from concept to reality. All of this will happen within 24 months of the bill being signed into law.

“I could not be more grateful for the support this bill has received from both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol over the course of its progression. The advocacy of our co-sponsors, particularly this legislation’s co-author, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18), and Senate authors Senators Ken Salazar (CO) and Mel Martinez (FL), has been instrumental in creating awareness and enthusiasm for this legislation and broadening its public support.”

An identical bill to H.R. 512 passed unanimously in the House September 27, 2006, during the 109th Congress. The Senate, however, did not have the opportunity to vote on the legislation, thus requiring yesterday’s reintroduction.

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