DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006--Continued -- (Senate - October 27, 2005)
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Mr. SALAZAR. Mr. President, I rise to lend my support to amendment No. 2262 to the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2006. I am proud to be cosponsor of this amendment, which was introduced by Senator BINGAMAN. The amendment adds $60 million to key education programs that are critical to improving Hispanic educational opportunities. If approved, the money will be put to good use by State and local entities to invest in our country's most precious resource: Our youth.
The Hispanic community is an integral component of our American workforce. By ensuring that the 8.7 million Hispanic youth enrolled in our Nation's schools succeed in education, we make a down payment on our Nation's future economic security.
I note that the Hispanic Education Coalition, a group of diverse national education, civil rights, and Hispanic organizations, supports amendment No. 2262.
The amendment will restore $5 million in funding to the School Dropout Prevention Program that was authorized by the No Child Left Behind Act, and long championed by my colleague Senator BINGAMAN. It increases funding for civics and English as a Second Language, ESL, programs by $6.5 million for parents, workers and citizens who want to learn more about our country's history and enhance their language skills in English, the language of opportunity in America and throughout the world.
In addition, funding for two small but incredibly effective programs, the High School Equivalency Program, HEP, and the College Assistance Migrant Program, CAMP, would be reinstated to their Fiscal Year 2004 levels. As a product of rural America, I have known and met many migrant worker families. They work hard to provide the wonderful grains, vegetables, and fruits we eat at our dinner table. In Colorado and other parts of the country, HEP-CAMP works to keep migrant students in high school through graduation, with the ultimate goal of sending them off to college.
This amendment also provides an additional $13 million in funding for Parent Assistance and Local Family Information Centers. The Colorado Parent Information and Resource Center in Denver uses this funding to help low income parents understand and navigate the school system and encourages their involvement in the school community. Parental involvement is critical to children's success and I strongly support efforts that engage parents in their children's education.
Finally, there are modest increases for our Nation's Hispanic-Serving Institutions and for bilingual and migrant education.
I urge the Senate's support of amendment No. 2262 because I believe we will all reap the benefits of increasing Hispanic educational achievement.