Tuesday, December 1, 2015

WATCH: House Passes Grijalva's PRISM Bill By Voice Vote; 1 GOP Presidential Candidate Co-Sponsor In Senate

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD3) passed a bill through the U.S. House yesterday that would allow
colleges serving large numbers of Hispanic, Asian American, or Native American/Pacific Islander studnts to apply for federal grants to help establish programs to preserve their cultures.

The PRISM Act passed unanimously, on a voice vote, and now goes to the Senate.

Here is Grijalva explaining the measure yesterday on the House floor.

Afterwards, he recognized that this was more a symbolic step to put all minorities on the same level:
“Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Asian American and Native American/Pacific Islander-serving Institutions are one step closer to the access they deserve of funds that are already available to other Minority-Serving Institutions. The American identity is enriched by every culture that has come to our shores. It is crucial that we assure all students have the opportunity to participate in projects to preserve their heritage.”
The symbolism comes because the federal government has not given out any grants for these types of programs in at least six years, and there is no sign that monies are going to be made available any time soon. Here is the House Report on the bill, which notes that the Congressional Budget Office therefore said the PRISM Act would not cost the government anything over at least the next four years.

While Grijalva's co-sponsors in the House were all Democrats, the identical bill in the Senate (S.805) does contain one notable Republican co-sponsor. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is currently embroiled in a competitive campaign for the GOP Presidential nomination. The current status of that race may make it slightly more likely that the Senate will take up the measure.

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