ICYMI: House Republican Funding Bills Target Latino Communities

July 19, 2023
Press Release

House Republicans cut all funding for the National Museum of the American Latino and Molina Family Latino Gallery after denying Dreamers opportunity

WASHINGTON — House Republicans’ cuts to the Interior and Environment funding bill, currently being considered before the full House Appropriations Committee, touch all aspects of programs that the American people depend on to ensure our air is safe to breathe, our water is safe to drink, and we are resilient in a changing climate. These cuts extend to undermining crucial support for the arts and humanities, which are an integral part of our communities and our society. During Latino Conservation Week, House Republicans combined these harmful policies in a way that targets Latino communities.

The bill prohibits funding for the new National Museum of the American Latino and the operation of the existing Molina Family Latino Gallery, which will prevent the Smithsonian from highlighting the contributions of American Latinos in United States History and culture.

The Molina Family expressed their concern with this language in a statement they provided to Ranking Member DeLauro which she shared with the committee. Other stakeholders have also sent their feedback rejecting the inclusion of these harmful policies:

United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Ramiro Cavazos, CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

“The USHCC is disappointed by House Leadership’s decision to remove funding for the Museum of the American Latino. The funding and authorization for the Museum was signed into law by former President Trump through bipartisan legislation a few short years ago and now, they are going back on their word to the Latino Community and all people of the United States. The current economic impact of Latinos and our contributions to the history of America are well documented. This Museum is long overdue, and this legislation could have severe impacts on making it a reality.”

Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs

“As an agency representing and advocating for Latinos in the state, we are deeply concerned with the cuts being proposed to the 2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies funding bill. The bill cuts funding for arts programs and prohibits funding for the new National Museum of the American Latino and the operation of the existing Molina Family Latino Gallery (Sec. 459).

“The Council has been a strong supporter of these initiatives that have gained bipartisan support in Congress. We are thus dismayed to hear about this legislative action that will adversely affect Americans of Latino/Hispanic descent in the nation. We are surprised to see this action directed against our growing population that contributes significantly to each sector of our economy, adding to America’s international competitiveness. We are also a significant voting force across the country. American Latinos are an integral part of the rich history and tapestry of this country. Our story needs to be told and the National Museum of the American Latino will help accomplish this vital goal…

“This bill sends a dangerous signal that nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population does not count and will be invisible for the next generations, stripping away Americans of a collective memory that enriches the history of this nation.”

CHISPA, League of Conservation Voters

An offshoot of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) with the single aim to better and create healthier environments in Latinx communities and communities of people of color, nationally, and through State affiliates in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, and Texas.

“As MAGA Republicans propose an Interior and Environment funding bill that dramatically cuts protections for our air, water, and lands, it’s also clear that these bills are intent on failing our Latinx communities. House Republicans’ bill not only slashes funding for critical programs that would confront environmental racism, but, to add insult to ongoing injury, the bill defunds the National Museum of the American Latino, sending a clear message that they will continue to ignore the contributions of Latinx people.  As we celebrate Latinx Conservation Week and uplift our Latinx comunidades’ connection to the outdoors, we will not be silenced. We will fight for the respect Latinx people deserve. 

“More often than not, communities of color suffer the worst effects of climate change. And now, when millions of Latinx people in this country are trying to survive record heat waves, MAGA Republicans want to eliminate the tools that will help right these wrongs, once again prioritizing their polluter allies over people. It is unacceptable, and we will fight these egregious cuts.”

Henry R. Muñoz III

Henry R. Muñoz III was the Chairman of the bipartisan commission of Congress who made the recommendation for the new Latino museum.

“I have been privileged over the last thirty years to be a part of a large diverse voice in the Latino community of the U.S. who have worked to build a Latino presence within all of the Smithsonian Museums, educational initiatives, and research institutions.

“Today, there are exhibits, objects, curators, directors and a proposed site of a new museum building that will anchor the storytelling contributions of Latinos to the history, patriotism, art and culture of our country.

“As the Chairman of the bipartisan commission of Congress who successfully worked together for two years to make the recommendation to you for a new Latino museum on our National Mall. I would like to ask you to consider the damage to our many programs if progress is paused. We knew that articulating a National Identity for our rich and diverse community would be complex and a never ending process - just like democracy. That is why our report to you was unanimously entitled to ‘Illuminate the American Story for all.’

“I agree with those who say that the current exhibits that reside in the Molina Family Gallery are not an inclusive enough representation of who we are as a people. Perhaps, the size of the exhibit made this un-achieveable. But this is just the beginning of this phase of the process and I have faith in the capabilities of our nation’s museum to move forward towards a shared vision.

“Please allow the funding and the work to continue so that all of us can see ourselves reflected within the walls of our nation’s museum.”

Additional Background:

The National Museum of the American Latino was authorized in law less than three years ago, passing by voice vote in the House. It was ultimately included in the final 2021 government funding package that overwhelmingly passed both the House and the Senate. However, the House Republican Interior and Environment bill cuts all funding for the museum and the Molina Family Latino Gallery, undermining a decades-long pursuit of recognition and the over $70 million dollars in previous Federal appropriations provided to recognize the many ways Latinas and Latinos have shaped this nation and to build the museum.

House Republicans unveiled their cruel attempt to erase the Smithsonian’s efforts to highlight Latinos history and culture in the American context the same week that Republican Members of the Appropriations Committee voted to prohibit Dreamers from working for the Federal government, which in turn was just three weeks after Committee Republicans voted to prohibit those same Dreamers from working in the Legislative Branch. Dreamers are not only exclusively from the Caribbean, Latin American, and South America, but Republican policies make clear that they would rather white-wash American history and deny the existence of people from those regions than adopt common-sense and humane policies. Rather, House Republicans choose to marginalize and disregard the contributions of the Latino community, making Hispanics invisible.

This anti-Latino ideology was also advanced in the House Republican Homeland Security funding bill that proposes to cut billions in funding for several humanitarian programs and humane border management operations that support migrants who are predominantly arriving from Latin American regions. These are programs that provide vital support, safety, opportunity, and contributions to our collective socio-economic progress.

The targeting of the community continues in the House Republican Majority’s housing policies, which propose to cut all funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s efforts to address the ongoing legacies of residential segregation and discrimination.

We cannot stand aside and allow these efforts to chip away at rights, representation, and opportunity for Latinos in the United States and deny the countless ways Latinos have enriched our nation of immigrants.

More information on the 2024 Interior Environment funding bill is here.


118th Congress