NHLA Progress Report: Much Work Remains for President, Congress on Jobs, Education, Immigration, and Other Issues
The report identifies successes of the past two years while challenging leaders in Washington to adopt policy priorities to strengthen the growing Hispanic community
On Wednesday, August 10th, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a coalition of the 30 leading Hispanic organizations in the United States, released its Hispanic Public Policy Agenda Two Year Progress Report, a detailed assessment of the achievements of President Obama and Congress in 2009 and 2010 and the crucial work that remains. Download the report by clicking here.
As determined by the debt ceiling deal enacted into law last week, Members of Congress will return to Washington in September to make appropriations decisions cutting $3 billion from domestic non-defense spending for fiscal year 2012 and then before year’s end make much bigger decisions about reducing the national debt by $1.5 trillion over the next decade.
“The decisions made in Washington in the coming months will have a lasting impact on the Latino community. Our progress report documents some of the achievements that have been made to help Latinos survive through the Great Recession. Congress, the new super committee, and the Administration should take lessons from this report and know that deep cuts to programs that have kept families working and in their homes cannot be sacrificed during their negotiations. Our focus should be on building the economy – not hurting Americans by slashing safety net programs,” said Lillian Rodriguez López, Chair of NHLA and President of the Hispanic Federation.
In 2008 NHLA released its quadrennial Hispanic Public Policy Agenda with specific policy recommendations in the areas of education, immigration, government accountability, health, civil rights, and economic empowerment. The progress report offers a frank assessment of each recommendation’s status.
“The last two years saw great progress in areas such as health care reform, prosecution of hate crimes, and funding for higher education. Yet much work remains and much of our progress could be jeopardized by pending budget cuts,” said Brent Wilkes, Vice Chair of NHLA and National Executive Director of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). “The Hispanic community continues to face economic hardship as Congress debates leveling massive budget cuts on the backs of low-income families. All the while, the administration and Congress have failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform as anti-immigrant sentiment continues to flare up. When Congress returns this fall and the 2012 presidential race progresses, we hope that our leaders will adopt these recommendations and work with us to strengthen the Hispanic community and the nation.”
“The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) applauds Congress and the President for preserving the current level of Pell funding, which protects access to higher education,” said HACU President and CEO, Antonio R. Flores. “With 307 Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) currently serving 52 percent of Latino students enrolled in higher education, maintaining the Pell grant award at $5,500 is critical for the 40 percent of Latino students that receive Pell grants. At the same time we are deeply concerned about 2011 cuts to the key HSI programs and the threat of worse cuts in 2012.”
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Established in 1991, The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) brings together Hispanic leaders to establish policy priorities that address, and raise public awareness of the major issues affecting the Latino community and the nation as a whole. For more information, please visit www.nationalhispanicleadership.org.