WASHINGTON — Legislation to create a museum on the National Mall honoring the achievement of Hispanics has garnered 290 bipartisan co-sponsors in the House, a super majority that makes it likely the idea will get a vote.
“Since long before the British arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, the Latino community has played a pivotal, foundation role in the building of our nation,” said Danny Vargas, chairman of the board of Friends of the American Latino Museum.
The Friends of the American Latino Museum is an advocacy group created to recognize the contributions of Hispanics, the fastest-growing minority group in the United States.
The Nevada congressional delegation, Democrats Dina Titus, Susie Lee, Steven Horsford and Republican Mark Amodei, are all co-sponsors of the bill that would allow a 50-50 public-private partnership to build a museum equal in size to others managed by the Smithsonian Institution.
“The history of our country is not complete without the story of Latino community,” Titus said.
She noted that contributions on the baseball diamond, in the labor movement, in music and on the U.S. Supreme Court, “should be honored in our nation’s capital.”
Companion legislation in the Senate has 27 co-sponsors, including Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto, who made history by becoming the first Latina elected to the upper legislative body.
Legislation to study the need for a museum was signed into law by President George W. Bush. A report found that the history of Hispanics were underrepresented and that there was a need for a Smithsonian National American Latino Museum.
That report also noted the historic contributions by Latinos and their influence in states like Florida, Puerto Rico and in the Southwest states like Nevada, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Texas.
Latinos currently make up 29 percent of the population of Nevada, which has more than 3 million residents, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics in 2019.
The legislation, filed by Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., has not been given a cost estimate by the Congressional Budget Office.
In the House, three committees have jurisdiction over the legislation, including the transportation subcommittee on public buildings chaired by Titus.
“The tremendous support for this legislation in Congress demonstrates just how powerful our community’s stories are in filling the gaps in our history,” Vargas said.