Reid, Menendez Decry Disproportionate Harm Of Economic Downturn On Latinos

Reid, Menendez Decry Disproportionate Harm Of Economic Downturn On Latinos

Washington - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senator Robert Menéndez (D-NJ) expressed their disappointment today after a new study revealed that the economic slowdown has been disproportionately harmful for Latino workers in the United States. The Democratic Senators also called on the Bush Administration to stop blocking several pieces of legislation that will strengthen our economy and lower energy costs for Americans.

The new report released today by the Pew Hispanic Center shows how the recent economic downturn has had a disproportionately negative effect on Hispanic workers. According to the study, the key factors contributing to this alarming trend are the housing crisis and its effect on the construction industry, as well as the ripple effect on all other sectors of the economy. This has resulted in a rise in the unemployment rate for Hispanics to 6.5% in the first quarter of 2008, well above the 4.7% rate for all non-Hispanics.

"This new study on how the economic downturn has disproportionately affected Latinos is troubling," Reid said. "The housing crisis and its effect on the construction industry is yet another example the Bush Administration's negligent and wait-and-see economic policies. This Administration is actively opposing legislation proposed by Senate Democrats to help solve our mortgage crisis and help Americans keep their homes."

"Americans are losing jobs and Latinos, who make up over 14% of the workforce in this country, are suffering disproportionately as their unemployment rates rise above the rest of the population. We have been brought to this point by seven years of economic policies geared toward the super-wealthy, a costly war in Iraq and a subprime mortgage crisis," Menéndez said. "My Democratic colleagues have made helping working families a top priority and we believe that Latinos should have the opportunity to build a better life through their hard work and determination. There is no magic wand we can wave to make all the problems go away at once, but Senate Democrats are committed to spurring an economic recovery wherever we have an opening to do so."

"Democrats have an aggressive agenda to jump start our economy," Reid added. "In addition to passing the short term economic stimulus package and continuing to fight President Bush's stubborn opposition to our housing bill, we are also working hard on other initiatives that will boost our economy while helping our environment. Our Consumer First Energy Act and our Climate Security Act bills will help reduce Americans' pain at the pump, create thousands of green collar jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Latinos and all hard working American families stand to benefit from these bipartisan initiatives and we hope that the Bush Administration and Senate Republicans will side with the American people and not with the special interests to help improve our economy."

###

The full report can be seen at: http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/88.pdf.