Reid, Rubio, others team up to create American Latino museum

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) is the lead sponsor of the Senate bill, S. 1868, along with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and a handful of other Democrats. The House companion bill (not introduced yet) will be sponsored by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.).

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"With this legislation we continue moving forward with the creation of a national museum that honors the countless political, cultural and economic contributions of the Latino community," Menendez said. "One step at a time, we are bringing to fruition a long overdue project to honor and document the influence American Latinos have had in weaving the cultural and historical fabric of American life throughout our nation’s history."

The bill follows up on the work of a commission, created in 2008, that studied the creation of the museum. It designates the Arts and Industries Building as the location for the museum, and provides for 18 months of planning.

The bill spends no federal money, and instead authorizes the use of the site and allows private fundraising for the design and construction of the museum, a provision Rubio highlighted.

"This will be an enduring monument to people who have found opportunity and refuge in America and strengthened her in return, while also serving as a tribute to this exceptional country which welcomes people and helps them realize their dreams like no other place has ever done in all of human history," Rubio said. "At a time when our nation faces major economic and fiscal challenges, I am pleased that this effort will not rely on taxpayer dollars and that this bill will encourage private fundraising efforts to make it a reality."