HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH; Congressional Record Vol. 161, No. 132
(Senate - September 15, 2015)

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[Pages S6616-S6617]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                        HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH

  Mr. REID. Mr. President, today, September 15, marks the beginning of 
Hispanic Heritage Month, a celebration that dates back to 1968.
  This month also includes the anniversary of independence for many 
Latin American countries. Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity for 
us as a nation to recognize, celebrate, and honor the history, culture, 
and contributions of America's Latino community.
  We see those contributions in all facets of our society, from the 
battlefields to the boardrooms and from the classrooms to the halls of 
government. Every segment of American life has been enriched by Latinos 
and their proud culture. Without the contributions made by generations 
of Latinos, Nevada and the United States would not be what we are 
today.
  In Nevada, Hispanic influence and history is everywhere. Consider the 
name of my State and the name of our most famous city. ``Nevada'' means 
snow covered. ``Las Vegas'' means the meadows. Las Vegas, one of the 
most famous cities in the world, has a Hispanic name. Today, more than 
one-quarter of Nevada's population is Hispanic.
  Nationally, Latino Americans number nearly 60 million and are 
expected to make up to 60 percent of the population growth in coming 
decades. America's future depends on a strong and prosperous Hispanic 
population.
  That is why Democrats have fought hard for policies to protect 
Hispanic families and strengthen Hispanic communities. We passed the 
Affordable Care Act, which allows millions of Latinos to have access to 
affordable health care. Because of the Affordable Care Act, 4.2 million 
previously uninsured Latinos now have health insurance. An estimated 
8.8 million Latinos are newly covered for expanded preventive services, 
with no cost-sharing, including mammograms, colonoscopy screenings, and 
immunization vaccines under the Affordable Care Act.
  Democrats also passed the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform 
bill out of the Senate a couple years ago. That legislation, which 
House Republicans refused to consider, even though it would have passed 
overwhelmingly--all Democrats would have voted for it and enough 
Republicans would have voted for it to be an overwhelming victory--but 
it didn't happen. The Republicans refused to consider something that 
protected families, reduced the deficit, and strengthened our national 
security.
  We also supported President Obama's Executive actions, which, as we 
speak, are protecting immigrant families from the threat of deportation 
and taking criminals off the streets. Meanwhile, Republicans are doing 
everything in their power to undermine Hispanic families. A person need 
only watch 5 minutes of a Republican Presidential debate to see how 
Republicans really feel about America's Latino communities. Republicans 
are clamoring to amend the Constitution to repeal birthright 
citizenship. Republicans want to roll back President Obama's Executive 
actions that are keeping families together and preventing DREAMers from 
being deported.

  Republicans are constantly attacking the Affordable Care Act, which 
has covered 4.2 million previously uninsured Latinos with health 
insurance. Republicans refuse to boost the minimum

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wage, blocking millions of Latino families from earning a livable wage.
  These are the priorities of the Republican Party--a Republican Party 
that has abandoned Latino families. We as Democrats will do everything 
in our power to stop the Republican attack on these families. Democrats 
will continue to fight for Latino families to help them tackle the 
challenges they face every day.
  Today, as we celebrate the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, we 
honor the many incredible contributions Latino Americans make every day 
to our Nation. We also recommit ourselves to protecting Hispanic 
families and communities from the likes of Donald Trump and the 
Republican Party and treating them with dignity and respect because a 
prosperous America needs a strong and thriving Hispanic community.

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