Lawmakers renew push to create American Latino Smithsonian museum

Lawmakers renew push to create American Latino Smithsonian museum
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday reintroduced legislation to establish a national Latino museum in Washington, D.C., after a previous effort stalled in a previous legislative session.

Sens. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Five ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan Spending bill faces Senate scramble MORE (D-N.J.) and John CornynJohn CornynHouse approves bill to ease passage of debt limit hike McConnell faces GOP pushback on debt deal Senate leaders face pushback on tying debt fight to defense bill MORE (R-Texas) as well as Reps. José Serrano (D-N.Y.), Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeHouse progressives urge Garland to intervene in ex-environmental lawyer Steven Donziger's case Overturning Roe would be a disaster for young women of color CBC's pivotal role on infrastructure underscores caucus's growing stature MORE (D-Calif.), Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroLawmakers call for investigation into proposed AT&T WarnerMedia, Discovery merger Israel says blacklisted NSO Group 'has nothing to do' with government policies Hillicon Valley — The race to report cyber breaches MORE (D-Texas) and Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHillicon Valley — Presented by Ericsson — Tackling the misinformation 'crisis' Bipartisan commission urges US take immediate steps to curb online misinformation First Democrat jumps into key Texas House race to challenge Gonzales MORE (R-Texas) reintroduced a bill that would establish a Smithsonian museum on the National Mall dedicated to Latino Americans and their history.

The National Museum of the American Latino Act would renew previous efforts to secure a location close to the Smithsonian's other museums, such as the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of the American Indian. Similar bipartisan bills to create such a museum have stalled in Congress.

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“Latinos have been contributing to the fabric of America from it’s earliest days, and yet we still don’t have a place on the National Mall to celebrate these contributions,” Danny Vargas, chairman of the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino said in a press release.

“It is now necessary and urgent that we establish a national museum to recognize the full picture of American history. Congress has every reason it needs to pass the bill authorizing the Smithsonian National American Latino Museum in this session," he added. 

"At a time when hateful rhetoric so often poisons our airwaves and our newsfeeds, it’s never been more important that we come together to tell the story of the American Latino in a way that it deserves to be told. Aquí estamos y no nos vamos [We’re here and we’re not going anywhere],” Menendez said during a press conference outside the Capitol on Tuesday.

Cornyn said Tuesday in a press release that he was proud to work with Menendez on an effort that he said would extend representation on the National Mall to a third of Texas'x residents, who are Hispanic.

"The history and culture of Latin Americans are woven into the fabric of our country," Cornyn said. "More than a third of all Texans identify themselves as Hispanic, and I am proud to partner with Senator Menendez in the struggle to honor his contributions by establishing a new museum at the Smithsonian Institution."