WASHINGTON—The Proyecto20% coalition, a group of national Latino civil rights, advocacy and political organizations, held a press call on Friday calling on senators to swiftly confirm Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of Homeland Security, Xavier Becerra as Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Miguel Cardona as Secretary of Education and Isabel Guzman as head of the Small Business Administration.
Noting that they’re “deeply alarmed” with the confirmation delays by Senate Republicans, the Proyecto20% coalition emphasized the agencies’ critical roles in addressing the economic and health crises caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately affected Latinos and other communities of color.
This coalition played a key role in mobilizing the Latino electorate in the 2020 election, with the majority of the 16 million Latino voters turning out for Democrats and being the margin of victory in key battleground states. The press call included UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía; MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz; Latino Victory Fund President and CEO Nathalie Rayes; LULAC National President Domingo Garcia; President and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Ramiro Cavazos; Hispanic Federation President and CEO Frankie Miranda, Mi Familia Vota Executive Director and CEO Hector Sanchez Barba, and Voto Latino Managing Director Danny Friedman.
“Any delay in the confirmations makes recovery from the pandemic more difficult,” said UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía. “In the meantime, Latinos continue to get sick, lose their jobs, their homes and even die because new leaders are not in place. Further delays in confirming nominees for President Biden’s cabinet who are critical to addressing the impact of COVID-19 on the Latino community are unacceptable. The American people gave President Joe Biden and the Democrats a mandate to govern, and they should be afforded the opportunity to do so.”
“Xavier Becerra has the health care policy expertise, managerial experience, and sharp political acumen required to lead the Health and Human Services Department. He’s been successfully advocating for health care access for years, and it’ll be a top priority for him as HHS secretary,” said Nathalie Rayes, Latino Victory Fund President and CEO. “Republican Senators know no bounds when it comes to obstructing progress, as shown by their opposition to Xavier Becerra’s confirmation. They’re keeping the Health and Human Services Department from having a leader in the thick of a pandemic that is killing thousands of Americans each day. Stalling Xavier Becerra’s confirmation is irresponsible and dangerous for Americans, especially for Latinos and communities of color. We urge the Senate to give Becerra a swift and fair confirmation hearing.”
“The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) supports all four Latino and Latina nominees and urges their swift confirmation,” said Ramiro A. Cavazos, President and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “We represent more than 4.7 million Hispanic-owned businesses and we especially urge for the confirmation of Ms. Isabel Guzman as Administrator for the Small Business Administration. She has a long history of advocating for small business issues. Her excellence and leadership will deliver a steadfast recovery to America’s more than 30 million small businesses with integrity. We are proud to support her appointment.”
“The Biden-Harris Administration must have a strong Hispanic presence at every level, including sub-cabinet positions, to fully reflect the diversity of our nation’s population. That diversity should also reflect representation from within Latino communities, including gender, race, sexual orientation, and ethnicity,” said Frankie Miranda, President and CEO of Hispanic Federation. “We will be watching and we will make sure our voters hold Senate members accountable for how they treat Latino appointees and ultimately act with regards to advancing the cause of equity in our federal government.”
“This election cycle, Latinos fought to save our democracy,” said Héctor Sanchez-Barba, Executive Director and CEO of Mi Familia Vota. “Today we are saying basta to the exclusion of our communities. The Senate is not doing its work, and is preventing the confirmations of the cabinet of a democratically elected president. This is a call to action to move the confirmation of these highly qualified candidates. Our country is facing the twin disasters of COVID-19 and Latinos who need to work. We must have these qualified candidates confirmed immediately to begin to help our country move forward.”
“Enough is enough. In the midst of a global pandemic and the aftermath of a white supremacist attack on the Capitol, there is no excuse for the continued delay of these qualified leaders. President Biden’s cabinet appointees merit a swift confirmation process so we can move forward to address the immediate needs of our nation,” said Danny Friedman, Managing Director of Voto Latino. “The four Latinx nominees, as well as the whole of the cabinet appointees, are eminently qualified. We call on the U.S. Senate to confirm them all as soon as possible. To that end, we are reaching out to the more than 32 million Latinx voters we registered and mobilized to the polls to call on the U.S. Senate to immediately confirm these four nominees. Our community cannot wait.”
The Proyecto20% coalition is urging the community to take action by contacting their Senators to demand the four Latino cabinet members’ confirmation through an email platform.
Proyecto 20% is a coalition of national Latino organizations (UnidosUS, Hispanic Federation, Mi Familia Vota, MALDEF, NALEO, CHCI, LULAC, Latino Victory Fund, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Voto Latino) that have been advocating that at least 20 percent of the approximately 4,000 political appointments and other jobs to be filled by President Biden are held by Latino and Latinas.