Congressman Carlos Curbelo, a Republican representing Florida’s 26th district, is embroiled in a fight with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) after the organization denied his application for membership.
According to The Miami Herald, Curbelo has been trying to join the caucus since February. He claims that his rejection is proof that Latino Americans are divided by party lines and cautioned that the partisanship could backfire on the caucus. The CHC doesn’t deny those accusations in their statement on Curbelo’s rejection.
“After due consideration, the CHC determined not to accept Rep. Curbelo’s request to join the Caucus,” CHC spokesperson Carlos Paz Jr. says in the statement. “The CHC isn’t just an organization for Hispanics; it is a caucus that represents certain values. This vote reflects the position of many of our members that Rep. Curbelo and his record are not consistent with those values.”
Politico reports that a major point of contention between the CHC and Curbelo stem from a difference in opinion over the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the GOP tax reform bill. The Cuban-American politician argued that his stance on both issues aren’t as partisan as caucus members believe. However, The Lugar Center – McCourt School of Bipartisan Index ranks the representative 11th for his bipartisanship work in the House.
“This is the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. As far as I’m concerned, it means that if you’re in Congress and you’re Hispanic, you should be allowed to join,” Curbelo told Stuart Varney while appearing on his Fox Business channel show, “Varney & Co.” “There’s no exclusion based on some of your beliefs or the way you view things. It’s a very ugly message to send. It sends a message that the American Hispanic community should be segregated.”
Democrats are actively working to unseat Curbelo, who is up for re-election in 2018. The Republican currently represents a blue-leaning district of southern Florida that includes Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. Miami-Dade County went for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by 30 points, while Monroe County voted Trump over Clinton by seven points. Based on the recent election results in Virginia, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Montana, Republicans in Florida may have cause for concern.