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Hispanic Democrats announce 'Latina Prosperity Principles'

Hispanic Democrats announce 'Latina Prosperity Principles'
© Greg Nash

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) on Tuesday announced a set of legislative principles they say are meant to support Latina economic empowerment in the face of crippling economic gaps.

“Latinas are an integral part of our country’s economy and we are proud to outline a framework to help lift the tide in a way that no longer leaves Latinas behind,” said Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-PowellDebbie Mucarsel-PowellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Coast-to-coast fears about post-holiday COVID-19 spread The Memo: Democrats see warning signs beyond 2020 Florida Democrat breaks down loss: 'It's not just about socialism' MORE (D-Fla.), chairwoman of the CHC's Women's Task Force.

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The release comes ahead of a contested 2020 election where Democrats are looking to maintain high levels of support among Latino voters, while also encouraging high levels of voter participation that will be essential for the party to be competitive in states like Florida, Arizona and Texas.

The economy, health care and education have traditionally been top issues for Latinos, but a Univision poll released this week showed that guns, racism and stopping President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds MORE's agenda have become leading issues for 2020 Latino voters.

Despite the new concerns, 18 percent of Hispanic registered voters still said their top concern is reducing health care costs, and 24 percent said their greatest concern was either raising wages or creating more jobs.

The task force found that, while women make around 80 cents on the dollar compared to men, that number is lowered to just 53 cents on the dollar for Latinas.

The poverty rate for Latinas — 20.9 percent — is also higher than for American women in general, at 13.4 percent, and for men, at 9.9 percent.

Under the new principles, adopted by the 38-member CHC, members committed to supporting policy to "close the gender pay gap, address gender and racial wealth inequality, expand labor protections, fight for paid family leave, expand opportunities for affordable child care, and preserve and improve access to retirement plans and Social Security."

The document also commits members to offer support for educational and labor reforms to aid Latino families in general.

"Our principles are wide-reaching; we recognize that Latina issues are intersectional," said Mucarsel-Powell.

The task force found that Hispanics have the lowest rates of access to paid family leave of any ethnic group; only 25 percent of Hispanics have employer-paid family leave, compared to 50 percent of the general population.

"As Latinas become a growing percentage of the labor force, we need a comprehensive strategy that will help Latinas earn equal pay for equal work and afford quality education – for themselves and their families," added Mucarsel-Powell.

The set of principles also contains guidelines for health care policies.

According to Mucarsel-Powell's task force, 19.5 percent of Hispanics are uninsured, compared to 6.5 percent among non-Hispanic whites.

Under the principles, CHC members commit to protecting Title X family planning programs "against efforts to sabotage" them.

The Trump administration has made changes to Title X, including an abortion counseling program that prompted the exit of Planned Parenthood, the country's largest provider of affordable reproductive health services, from the program.

The set of principles also includes a section on defending equality on the grounds of "ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, or socioeconomic background."

"Despite adversity, Latinas across the country are making profound impacts on their communities, rising through the workforce, and stepping into leadership roles they deserve," said CHC Chairman Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroBattle heats up for House Foreign Affairs gavel Overnight Defense: Mike Rogers slated to be top House Armed Services Republican | Defense bill hits another snag | Pentagon dinged for 0M loan to trucking company using COVID funds DeLauro wins Steering Committee vote for Appropriations chair MORE (D-Texas).

"These principles are just the beginning; our Hispanic Caucus will continue fighting to build an infrastructure of opportunity and equality for Latinas,” he added.