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These are the measures the 118th Congress needs to pass to ensure all Americans can live out their American Dream

Latinos are looking to policymakers to work together and support policies that will tame inflation and grow the economy, ensure access to affordable health care and modernize the immigration system.
Opinión
President of The LIBRE Initiative.
2023-01-13T11:17:27-05:00
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The US Capitol is seen at dusk on January 9, 2023. Crédito: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Sixty million Latinos, like all Americans, are struggling with the effects of out-of-control federal spending and regulation that have sparked runaway inflation and government-created obstacles to economic growth that are blocking our path to the American Dream.

As the new year turns and a new Congress begins legislating, lawmakers’ focus should be on removing barriers to opportunity, fostering innovation, and enabling every American to improve their lives and communities.

Latinos are looking to policymakers to work together and support policies that will tame inflation and grow the economy by getting control of government spending; ensure access to affordable health care by expanding choices; and modernize an immigration system that is failing to secure the border or serve the needs of those who want to come to America and contribute to our national story.

We have specific legislative suggestions that will address each of these challenges.

Let’s start with the economy.

Years (decades, really) of profligate spending have grown the government and saddled our children and grandchildren with more than $30 trillion in debt that will eventually have to be repaid.

That means higher taxes and a lower standard of living for our kids and grandkids – unless we start doing something about it right now.

We can begin to get a handle on reckless spending by overhauling the process and enacting a unified budget that brings together appropriations, authorizing, and revenue into a coherent whole. This reform would be a first step to promoting fiscal restraint and fixing the broken budget process.

Congress can also provide more certainty while promoting opportunity for Latino families and entrepreneurs by making permanent the reduced tax burden on individuals and small business owners in the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act that are set to expire in 2025.

Lawmakers can unleash entrepreneurs and innovators to create more economic opportunity by enacting the Small Entrepreneurs’ Empowerment and Development (SEED) Act and the Unlocking Capital for Small Businesses Act, which would make it easier for small businesses to access capital and rebuild in the wake of pandemic shutdowns.

To expand opportunities for workers, Congress should pass the Employee Rights Act, which would guarantee unionized employees the right to secret ballot elections, and protect workers’ from having their dues and fees used to promote political candidates and issues they don’t support.

Congress can also act to ease the minds of Hispanic families worried about whether they can access affordable health care.

Health care works best when we unleash innovation and competition and remove barriers between patients and medical professionals. At a time when rising costs are affecting every family, only a Personal Option can provide Latino households the health care they need, at a price they can afford, from the providers they trust.

Congress can empower patients by expanding access to tax-free health savings accounts; expanding options by guaranteeing access to direct primary care and similar insurance-free arrangements by passing the Primary Care Enhancement Act; lowering costs through competition by removing Medicare’s ban on physician-owned hospitals; and expanding telehealth access and allowing employer flexibility to provide telehealth benefits.

Congress can also do something about immigration.

Immigration is good, but our antiquated immigration system is not.

We need reforms that enhance border security, modernize legal immigration, provide an earned legal status to Dreamers, and address the status quo of the undocumented population.

Congress has put this off for too long. The status quo is long since unacceptable. Failing to fix our outdated, broken system threatens our economic prosperity as well as our national security.

The Bipartisan Border Solutions Act would increase the number of Border Patrol personnel and facilities to mitigate the large influx of migrants at our southern border.

The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act would address labor shortages in the health care and agriculture industries.

The Dignity Act would help toward enhancing border security, provide dignity for immigrants in the U.S. and strengthen America’s workforce.

There are plenty of solutions available. Lawmakers have already written the bills. We can address the economy, health care, and immigration if our leaders can muster the will to act.

All of us are eager to live out our version of the American Dream. Latinos are vibrant and essential members of the U.S. economy and culture. As the 118 th Congress convenes, we urge lawmakers to pass measures that strengthen our community’s economic prospects, meet our health care needs, and create an immigration system that works for every American.

Daniel Garza is president of The LIBRE Initiative.


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