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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) MenendezTrump appointee sparks bipartisan furor for politicizing media agency Senate Democrats hold talkathon to protest Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Watchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump MORE (D-N.J.) and John CornynJohn CornynCook moves Texas to 'toss-up' Biden pushes into Trump territory Cruz: Hunter Biden attacks don't move 'a single voter' MORE (R-Texas) as well as Reps. José Serrano (D-N.Y.), Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeDemocrats accuse Kushner of 'casual racism' over comments about Black Americans Ocasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts Democrats accuse tech companies of deceitful tactics in campaign against Calif. ballot measure MORE (D-Calif.), Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroFormer DNC finance chairman Henry Muñoz: Latinos 'need to lead ourselves' Overnight Defense: Trump says he's leaving Walter Reed, 'feeling really good' after COVID-19 treatment | White House coronavirus outbreak grows | Dems expand probe into Pompeo speeches House Democrats push forward on probe of Pompeo's political speeches MORE (D-Texas) and Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdDemocrats seek wave to bolster House majority Trump predicts GOP will win the House Changing suburbs threaten GOP hold on Texas 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."