Senate Democrats Host Hispanic Media Roundtable

Senate Democrats Host Hispanic Media Roundtable

Discussion focused on income inequality and immigration reform

Washington, DC - Today, Senate Democrats met with Latino media outlets for a discussion on strengthening the economy, extending unemployment benefits, increasing the minimum wage, and the need for urgent action by the House of Representatives on comprehensive immigration reform.

"I was very pleased to host today's Hispanic Media Roundtable for a productive discussion on legislative priorities for Latinos in 2014," said Senator Menendez, Chairman of the Hispanic Taskforce. "My Senate colleagues and I outlined a series of legislative priorities for expanded economic opportunities for Latinos and all Americans, and also reaffirmed our steadfast commitment on making 2014 the year to finally fix our nation's broken immigration system by passing immigration reform. The success of our country - and our economic recovery - is very much dependent on the success of Hispanic Americans. As Chairman of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force, I will continue to ensure the needs and concerns of Latino families and communities are represented in Congress."

Last month, unemployment insurance expired for millions of Americans. The Senate quickly began its work on legislation extending benefits. Republicans offered a proposal to ban undocumented immigrants claiming the Child Tax Credit for their children with U.S. citizenship in exchange for restoring unemployment benefits. This week, Senate Republicans filibustered the bill.

"This roundtable was a great opportunity for Democratic Senators to discuss with members of Hispanic focused media outlets the legislative priorities for the Senate on the upcoming year. However, as we move on to other pieces of legislation, I told reporters how critical it was to keep a focus on the Child Tax Credit issue. If this amendment were to pass, it would be an economic disaster not only for the Hispanic community in Nevada, but for the communities where they reside all over the country. Democrats will continue fighting for policies that help Latinos make it and remain part of the middle class. I appreciate the attention Latino journalists are giving to these very important issues," said Senate Majority Leader Reid.

The growing gap in income inequality is a real problem for millions of Americans trying to get by on low-wage jobs. Latinos in general and Latinas in particular are overrepresented in low-wage jobs. In early 2014, Senate Democrats plan to vote on legislation that will significantly increase the minimum wage for millions of workers. Nearly one-quarter of workers who would be directly affected by raising the minimum wage are Latinos.

"Even though our economy is headed in the right direction, we have the opportunity to make it stronger by continuing to help Americans who are still trying to recover by restoring emergency unemployment insurance benefits and raising the minimum wage," said Senator Tim Kaine. "It's not just the right thing to do - these steps make economic sense. I urge my Senate colleagues to continue working toward a bipartisan compromise on unemployment insurance - the first step as we get to work to help the nation's most vulnerable this year."

Photos from this event can be found here.