WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement in support of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus which held a press conference today to protest the use of offensive language on the House Floor last night during debate regarding the Matricula Consular Identification Card:
“It is sad that one of our nation’s greatest strengths, the diversity of our citizens, is viewed by some as a weakness or worse.
“Representative King’s (R-IA) remarks last night regarding the need for ‘cultural continuity’ are misguided and offensive, and are all the more disturbing because they occurred on the eve of Hispanic Heritage Month, which is a time when we should be celebrating the contributions of Hispanic Americans. It’s not clear to me what Mr. King was trying to imply with his use of such a phrase, but it recalls the veiled and insidious rhetoric that throughout history has been used to target minorities and has no place on the Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“I urge the Republican leadership to disown this language and the sentiments it carries. If it doesn’t, it will cast the entire Republican Party as accepting of intolerance and intolerant of diversity.”
Mr. King’s comments came during House debate of the Fiscal Year 2005 Transportation, Treasury Appropriations Bill. Mr. King was speaking in opposition to a bipartisan amendment that would remove the Culberson amendment approved in subcommittee. The Culberson amendment would limit the use of the Matricula Consular, or Mexican Consulate’s Identification Card, which is internationally recognized as a valid form of identification. Several state and local governments, including police departments, and more than 120 financial institutions in the U.S already recognize it. Several of these financial institutions as well as the Treasury Department, wrote letters to the House Appropriations Committee opposing the Culberson amendment.