Senator Mike leeMichael (Mike) Shumway Lee Juan Williams: GOP is anti-American party Manchin faces pressure from Gillibrand, other colleagues on paid family leave Key House president wants to arrange official trip to Taiwan in January MORE (R-Utah) on Thursday blocked legislation to create a Smithsonian National Museum of the American Latino as well as legislation to create a women’s history museum during a Senate hearing on the issue .
Lee opposed the legislation, saying the creation of new museums dedicated to groups would create a division within America.
“In the walls of a Smithsonian museum, just like in the National Gallery of Art or in the great memorials that dot this city, there is no us and them. There is only us. And so my objection to the creation of a new museum or a new Smithsonian series of museums based on group identity, what Theodore Roosevelt called hyphenated Americanism, is not a question of budgetary technicality or It is a matter of national unity and cultural inclusion.
Lee went on to say that he would support greater representation of the Latin American community and the contribution of women to American history within the Smithsonian Museum of American History.
“If the history of Latin Americans or women is under-appropriate in the Museum of American History, that’s a problem, and it’s a problem we should address here. I will gladly work … to correct those problems, even if that means more money, more exhibits, new floors or wings. I understand what my colleagues are trying to do and why. I respect what they are trying to do. I even share their interest in doing it by so that these stories are told. But the last thing we need is to further divide an already divided nation within a set of separate but equal museums of severed identity groups. “
Senator Bob menendez (DN.J.), who is a co-sponsor of bipartisan legislation for the Latino Museum and has presented his case for the museum to the Senate, argued that Lee made the wrong decision.
“The only chance we’ve had since it’s been a 20+ year journey to try to make this museum possible, a Republican colleague stands in the way,” Menenedez retorted. “It’s quite outrageous.”
Lee also opposed Sen. Susan collinsSusan Margaret Collins Senate Confirms Rahm Emanuel Will Be Ambassador to Japan‘s (R-Maine) push for a women’s history museum.
“I think it’s a sad moment, I had hoped we could go ahead with these two bills and pass them before the end of the year,” Collins said.
“Surely in a year when we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, now is the time, now is the time to finally adopt the legislation unanimously recommended by an independent commission to establish a history museum of women. American women in our nation’s capital, ”Collins added. “I regret that this does not happen tonight, but we will not give up the fight.”
Legislation for the establishment of a Smithsonian museum in honor of the Amiercan Latin community was presented to the lower house by Representative José Serrano (DN.Y.) and passed with 295 co-sponsors in July.
It moved forward with a unanimous vote from the Rules Committee of the Senate earlier this month.