WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Standing Committee of Correspondents unanimously approved Latino Rebels, part of Futuro Media, for a three-month, temporary credential in the Senate Daily Press Gallery at their meeting on June 28.
The five-member committee of journalists elected by credentialed members of the Capitol press to decide the applications of new outlets is chaired by Rachel Oswald of CQ Roll Call and includes Tom Brune from Newsday, Jonathan D. Salant of New Jersey Advance Media, Emily Cochrane from The New York Times, and Matt Fuller from The Daily Beast.
Membership in the Daily Press Gallery gives Futuro, the Harlem-based publisher of Latino Rebels, full press access to the Capitol complex for their correspondent.
Credentialed members of the Capitol press can literally question lawmakers in the halls of Congress. Reporters who are not credentialed by one of the four Congressional press galleries cannot access the Capitol complex at all due to COVID restrictions. Even before the pandemic, when the House and Senate office buildings were still open to the public, Capitol police restricted unchaperoned press access to the actual Capitol building to reporters credentialed by one of the galleries. Credentialed reporters in the Capitol complex must wear an orange photo ID that is visible at all times issued by the Senate ID office with the journalist’s headshot, name, outlet, gallery, and expiration date. Futuro’s expiration date on the new daily press pass is September 30.
Membership in the galleries is limited to “bona fide correspondents of repute in their profession[…] who requires on-site access to congressional members and staff.” The press gallery is “subject to the direction and control” of the House Speaker. The Senate Rules Committee has the right of review and approval over the press committee’s interpretation and administration of gallery rules. Louis Lautier appealed to the Rules Committee in 1947 after his application to cover the Capitol was rejected by an all-white press committee of his colleagues. The Rules Committee unanimously overturned the decision by the committee of journalists. Lautier was issued a press pass that he used to cover Congress for a network of Black community newspapers.
The decision to renews or reject Futuro’s press access will then go back to the same the Standing Committee of Correspondents in September. Until then, Latino Rebels must diligently work to establish a daily beat in the Capitol where the Senate is back in session on Monday at 3 p.m. Eastern. The House of Representatives returns the following Monday at 6:30 p.m. Latino Rebels will be there in the Capitol to cover the House and Senate with a Latinx lens.
Pablo Manríquez is Latino Rebels’ Washington correspondent. He is an immigrant from Santiago de Chile with a political science degree from the University of Notre Dame. The Washington Post calls him “an Internet folk hero.” Twitter: @PabloReports.