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-PowellLawmakers to watch during Wednesday's impeachment hearing Democrats set to open new chapter in impeachment Congress extends flood insurance program for 14th time since 2017 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 TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades 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 CastroPelosi faces tough choices on impeachment managers Hillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Minority lawmakers call out Google for hiring former Trump DHS official 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.