Commission to Study the Potential Creation of A National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture Act

Floor Speech

Date: April 26, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 3525, offered by Representative Meng, to authorize a commission to study the potential creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture.

My home State of Oregon has a proud and growing Asian-American and Pacific-Islander population. Oregon is home to many cultural centers, museums, gardens, and historic sites related to Asian-American and Pacific-Islander heritage.

This commission would be tasked with preparing a report for Congress and the President providing recommendations regarding the feasibility of establishing and maintaining a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

The commission would be required to consider several factors, including the availability and cost of the collections to be acquired, the cost of constructing, operating, and maintaining the museum, and the feasibility of the museum becoming part of the Smithsonian Institution.

While I support this bill, I am concerned about the significant financial and operational challenges that adding an additional national museum to the Smithsonian's portfolio could pose.

Just 2 years ago, Congress authorized the establishment of the National Museum of the American Latino and American Women's History Museum. In addition to constructing two new museums, the Smithsonian is facing a facilities maintenance backlog approaching $1 billion; identified collection storage needs; a $900 million renovation of the National Air and Space Museum expected to conclude this year; and ongoing rehabilitation of other historic structures on the National Mall.

I appreciate Chair Grijalva's willingness to address Republican concerns about the Smithsonian's capacity. At markup, an amendment was adopted to require the commission to consider the potential impact on the Smithsonian's existing maintenance backlog and identified construction or renovation costs for new or existing museums.

Additionally, I appreciate an amendment adopted at markup to prohibit the use of Federal funds for the commission. These are good governance amendments that will strengthen the commission's work and eventual report.

I appreciate our friends on the other side of the aisle taking this bill through regular order and working with Republicans to address our concerns.

Mr. Speaker, I urge adoption of the bill, and I reserve the balance of my time.
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Mr. BENTZ. Mr. Speaker, I have no further speakers, and I am prepared to close.

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Mr. BENTZ. Mr. Speaker, I just want to say how important this bill is, in part because of the incredibly valuable folks we have in my part of my State, including the Kitamuras, the Nagakis, the Maedas, the Nambas, the Saitos, the Itos, the Tanakas, the Teramuras, and many others, all of whom are absolutely wonderful parts of our community.

They are also incredibly conservative, and I am sure will be happy to see the portions of this bill that reflect the agreement to make sure that we are able to pay for whatever it is that we do. They are truly deserving of this recognition.

Mr. Speaker, I urge adoption of this bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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