July 19, 2002

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, (NHLA) a coalition of 40 national public policy and civil rights organizations and distinguished leaders, has released its annual Congressional Scorecard covering legislative votes during the first
session of the 107th Congress.

Manuel Mirabal, NHLA Board Chair stated: “While many members of Congress improved their voting records on issues affecting Latinos, there are still far too many who are not taking into account the concerns of Hispanic Americans. For example, although 25 percent of Senate and House members received a 90 percent or better score, several Senators and 54 members of the House of Representatives received zero scores. It is clear from the Scorecard that many in Congress remain behind the curve in working to ensure that our nation’s policies reflect the economic and demographic changes that have taken place during the last two decades.”

The NHLA Congressional Scorecard is a consensus document that reflects the public policy views of the major national Hispanic organizations in the nation. The Scorecard covers a broad range of issues, addressing the interests of a diverse community of 40 million Americans of Hispanic descent, but also of concern to all Americans. The votes included are those for which members of Congress received a formal communication from one or more NHLA Board members identifying their position on the legislation being considered. The votes selected affect policies governing the nation’s education system, the economy and job development, health care insurance coverage, tax relief for working low-income families and civil rights.

The Scorecard is an effective measure of the performance of Congress on issues affecting Hispanic Americans and serves as an accountability report for citizens to evaluate their elected officials. It is also important to recognize that an assessment of the contributions of any individual member of Congress should include actions that are not reflected by their voting record. Many Senators and Representatives contribute in ways other than through voting in Congress by sponsoring and co-sponsoring important bills and working to secure support for them through services to their constituents and by ensuring that their districts receive adequate federal funding to support social, economic, and other programs.

“NHLA advocates for policies that address socioeconomic concerns, protect the rights of all Latinos, and help to ensure that the growing U.S Latino population will have the fullest opportunity for advancement—not instead of or separate from, but along side and together with—every citizen who is a part of this great nation. As Americans of Hispanic descent, we will continue to work with and educate members of Congress about specific public policy issues that directly impact the Hispanic community”, NHLA Chair Mirabal added.

To obtain a copy of the NHLA Scorecard contact Jennie Torres-Lewis, Vice President for Public Policy, for the National
Puerto Rican Coalition at 202-223-3915, ext. 304 or visit our website at http://www.bateylink.org

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