Sunday, June 23, 2024

Stimulus Plan Brings Needed Relief for Latinos

NCLR released this following after the House passed the stimulus bill.

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, today thanked the U.S. House of Representatives for passing a $789 billion economic stimulus package, but emphasized that effective implementation of this legislation will be critical to reaching Latino workers and families.

“Congress did the right thing by acting quickly to approve a bold economic stimulus plan,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR. “Expanded tax credits for families with children, better access to unemployment insurance, and boosts to vital programs such as Medicaid and nutritional assistance are essential to helping families weather the economic storm.”

NCLR is pleased that the stimulus package:

  • Expands the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for larger families-a proposal NCLR has long supported
  • Lowers the income threshold needed to qualify for the Child Tax Credit, from $8,500 to $3,000, allowing more needy families to receive a larger credit and reaching 13 million children, including 2.9 million children whose families will be eligible for the credit for the first time
  • Provides $2 billion for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to help governments and nonprofits buy and rehabilitate foreclosed and vacant properties, improving the quality of life in communities
  • Encourages states to expand eligibility for unemployment insurance to part-time and low-wage workers, a significant portion of the Latino labor force

These measures will not help the economy recover if Americans are not employed. The prospects for the nation’s 22 million Latino workers are especially troublesome. Latinos currently face a 9.7% unemployment rate, compared to 7.6% for the nation overall. Projections by the Economic Policy Institute show that without a robust recovery package, the unemployment rate for Latinos could rise to 13.1% by 2010.

Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) recognize the importance of helping Latinos become better prepared for employment, and they have worked tirelessly to include adult education and training provisions targeted to limited-English-proficient workers. Unfortunately, their proposals were not included in the final package. NCLR will continue to work with these members of Congress on legislation that provides more job opportunities for Latinos.

“Sound implementation will determine whether this package will deliver good jobs for Latino workers. We are confident that Congress, as well as President Obama’s pick to lead the U.S. Department of Labor, Hilda Solis, will be vigilant in ensuring that all Americans have access to safe jobs with decent wages and benefits,” Murguía concluded.

The Senate vote is expected later today or tomorrow. The bill will then go to President Obama to sign into law.

National Council of La Raza