July 27, 2020

Cárdenas Applauds House Passage of National Museum of the American Latino Act

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Tony Cárdenas (D-CA-29) applauded the historic passage of H.R. 2420, the National Museum of the American Latino Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives. H.R. 2420 would establish a Smithsonian National Museum of the American Latino on the National Mall dedicated to honoring the contributions of American Latinos throughout U.S. history. This is the first time the bill has passed the House. Representatives José E. Serrano (D-NY-15) and Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX-23) were the lead sponsors of the bill while Cárdenas was the lead whip bringing nearly 100 cosponsors to support the bill.

“Today, in a historic moment of bipartisan cooperation, the House of Representatives passed the National Museum of the American Latino Act to establish the first national museum dedicated to Latino history and culture,” said Congressman Cárdenas. “Now more than ever, when Latinos are being attacked by this administration and in the media, the American people deserve to learn the history and heritage of Hispanic Americans. Latinos have been an integral part of the success of America and, for too long, the pivotal role the Latino community has played in the success of this great nation has largely been overlooked and our contributions underappreciated. I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues Representatives Serrano and Hurd on getting this passed, and I thank everyone who supported this bill. I urge the Senate to quickly pass this bill and finally make this museum a reality.”

A video of Congressman Cárdenas’ floor speech can be watched here.

H.R. 2420, the National Museum of the American Latino Act, builds on nearly 20 years of work by advocates and members of Congress that laid the foundation for the establishment of a national museum to celebrate the history and countless contributions of American Latinos. The first Congressional bill was introduced in 2003 by former Reps. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) to create a commission to study the feasibility of a future museum. In 2008, that legislation was signed into law and a 23-member commission was formed soon after. In May 2011, the Commission’s work culminated in a final report presented to President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders laying out a detailed plan for the establishment of a world-class museum on the National Mall.

H.R. 2420 would establish a Board of Trustees to help guide the Smithsonian’s creation of the museum. It would authorize a 50 percent federal match to privately raised dollars for design and construction costs. It would also authorize grants to strengthen and develop American Latino Museums around the country and assist students pursuing degrees in the fields of Latino history, arts, and culture. It has been modeled closely after legislation that successfully established the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and other museums within the Smithsonian Institution.

In addition to Reps. Serrano, Cárdenas, and Hurd, the bipartisan effort in the House includes the following Members as original cosponsors: Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA-3), Joaquin Castro (D-TX-20), Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR), Sylvia Garcia (D-TX-29), J. Luis Correa (D-CA-46), Peter King (R-NY-3), Darren Soto (D-FL-9), Grace Napolitano (D-CA-32), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY-7), Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ-3), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16), Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA-38), and Dan Newhouse (R-WA-4). The full list of 295 House cosponsors can be found here. The text of the bill can be found here.

In the Senate, the bipartisan effort has been led by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and John Cornyn (R-TX). S.1267 includes the following cosponsors: Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Tom Udall (D-NM), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mark Warner (D-VA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Tim Kaine (D-VA).