September 15, 2015 - Issue: Vol. 161, No. 132 — Daily Edition114th Congress (2015 - 2016) - 1st Session
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 [[Page S6617]] 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. ____________________