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Rep. Baca Commemorates Hispanic Heritage Month

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Location: Washington, DC

Rep. Baca Commemorates Hispanic Heritage Month

Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) released the following statement today, in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 -- October 15 every year.

"During Hispanic Heritage Month, our nation honors the Hispanic community and pays tribute to the extraordinary contributions that Hispanics have made throughout our history, and continue to make to America every day."

"Economically, culturally, and politically, Latinos are a vital part of our nation. As the fastest growing ethnic group in our country, the 48.4 million-strong Hispanic community makes America a better and stronger nation. And over several generations, American life has been enriched by Hispanic contributions in business, education, government, and the arts."

"Countless Hispanics, like Mr. Ignacio Gomez, have made significant contributions to give our nation a stronger future. A Los Angeles native, Mr. Gomez's inspirational art has motivated young people everywhere to strive for the highest in education, and have become positive enforcements to many Latino students. Many of Ignacio's posters are now in the Smithsonian Archives."

"Over the last year and a half, the Democratic-led Congress has been working hard to improve the lives and meet the needs of America's Hispanic families -- from the economy, to small businesses, to making college more affordable, to health care, to veterans."

"Jobs are the number-one issue for Hispanic families. In February 2009, Congress enacted the Recovery Act -- which provides 98% of American workers with a tax cut; begins to rebuild America's road, rail, and water infrastructure; and invests in clean energy and 21st century jobs. As the only Member of the Inland Empire Congressional delegation to support this legislation, I am pleased to say that over $570 million in federal Recovery funding has been awarded to the 43rd Congressional District."

"The Democratic-led Congress has also enacted legislation that makes investments to save 161,000 teacher jobs this fall; provides state aid that is designed to create and save an additional 158,000 jobs, including police officers, firefighters, and private sector workers; and closes tax loopholes that encourage corporations to ship American jobs overseas."

"There are currently 2.3 million Hispanic-owned small businesses in this country. One of the key focuses of the Congress has been to help small businesses get back on their feet after the devastating Bush recession. The Congress has enacted eight small business tax cuts, including a new tax credit for hiring unemployed workers, bonus depreciation tax incentives to support new investment, expansion of limits on small business expensing, and a five-year carry back of net operating losses. These tax cuts are critical for America's small businesses."

"Many Hispanic Americans are young people and a top priority of this Congress has been making college more affordable. Congress has enacted the largest student aid package in history -- including increasing the maximum Pell Grant to $5,550 in 2010 and to $5,975 by 2017. This increase will help the 37% of Hispanic college students receiving Pell Grants. The bill also invests $1 billion over 10 years to strengthen Hispanic Serving Institutions, providing students with the support they need to stay in school and graduate."

"Another key issue for Hispanic families is health care. The Affordable Care Act puts patients -- rather than insurance companies -- back in charge of their health care. The Act enacts a Patient's Bill of Rights, effective this year -- which prohibits insurance companies from dropping people when they get sick, discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions, and imposing lifetime limits and restrictive annual limits on coverage. The Act also provides tax credits for small businesses to make employee health coverage more affordable for those businesses choosing to provide it; cuts prescription drug costs for seniors by phasing out the Medicare prescription drug "donut hole' coverage gap; and extends the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund by an additional 12 years. This legislation is vital for Hispanic families and Hispanic seniors."

"Finally, the Democratic-led Congress has enacted legislation to improve the lives of America's veterans -- including 1.1 million Hispanic veterans. For example, it has strengthened quality health care for more than 5 million veterans by investing 11% more for medical care, benefit claims processors, and facility improvements this year."

"As former Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, I have been very involved in the movement to fix America's broken immigration system. This Congress, I have continued to advocate for a comprehensive immigration reform that secures our borders, increases sanctions against employers who violate the law, and provides a pathway to citizenship for responsible immigrants who are here to contribute. In fact, I have introduced legislation in the House, the PROUD Act, to provide a streamlined pathway to citizenship for immigrant high school graduates who perform well in school, and have a proven track record of contributing to their communities. The PROUD Act has been included as part of the larger comprehensive immigration reform package, H.R. 4321, that has been introduced in the House."

"This month, let us all take the time to celebrate the heritage and contributions of America's Hispanic community. I will continue to work to ensure that all Latinos, like all Americans, have a meaningful opportunity to improve their lives and pursue the American Dream."


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