Hispanics Find Dems More Friendly on Their Issues

According to a scorecard released by the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, Democrats in the House of Representatives voted pro-Hispanic 95 percent of the time, Republicans only 19 percent. In the Senate, 95 percent of Democratic votes supported NHLA positions; only 34 percent of Republican votes supported its positions.

The scorecard, released July 26, examined how 18 “key” votes in the House and six in the Senate, as determined by the 40-member board of NHLA, affected the Hispanic community.

For example, one vote NHLA opposed in the House was the Jobs and Growth Reconciliation Act of 2003. It opposed the tax cuts the bill called for, maintaining they only benefited the most affluent. Other areas graded by NHLA included civil rights, health, education and immigration.

The scorecard credited both parties with significant improvement. In its last assessment in 2002, it gave 53 House Republicans a score of zero and nine Democrats a 100 percent grade. This time, just five Republicans received a zero and 163 Democrats obtained a perfect score.

Ronald Blackburn-Moreno, chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, said the improvement was “not enough,” adding, “There’s an awful lot to do.”

Democrats reacted positively to the report. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said, “This Republican Congress is out of touch with the real problems of the Hispanic community.” The senator from Nevada added that he is “proud of the high scores that our Senate Democrats received.”

Republicans, on the other hand, attacked the report. Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart called the scorecard “a disingenuous piece of fiction masquerading as a legit representation of Hispanics’ views.” He added that the votes chosen were “obviously cherry-picked for Democrats.”

Antonio Flores, president of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and member of NHLA, stated in an e-mail to Blackburn-Moreno, copied to Hispanic Link, that he was “concerned that some members of Congress with extremely low ratings in the scorecard are actually outstanding in their support of Hispanic higher education and Hispanic-Serving Institutions.”

Blackburn-Moreno emphasized that the document is an effective tool for “monitoring the performance of Congress” but that it is also important to assess individual members of Congress additionally by “actions that are not reflected by their voting record.”

All but one member of the all-Democrat Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Xavier Becerra, scored 100 percent. The five Hispanic members of the Congressional Hispanic Conference averaged only 33 percent support for NHLA positions.

Mario Lopez, executive director of the all-Republican Congressional Hispanic Conference, said in response to the scorecard that it is “obvious that the NHLA is fairly partisan,” adding that it “left out a lot (of votes).”