Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

The Serrano Report - April 6, 2020

Apr 6, 2020
The Serrano Report

In Washington, DC


Congressman Serrano Applauds Passage of Third Coronavirus Emergency Relief and Economic Stimulus Legislation

Congress passed H.R. 748 - Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the third and most substantial economic relief and stimulus legislation in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Congressman Serrano, who voted in favor of the bill and secured important funding in the appropriations committee, released the following statement:

“America is currently facing a grave health emergency with serious implications for our economy unless we take action now. In this time of great stress and uncertainty, Americans need to know that their government is there to take the necessary measures to help them. This third piece of legislation is the most important and significant step we have taken to date to ensure American workers can successfully affront the unprecedented crisis that has resulted from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The coronavirus bill that Senate Republicans put forward last weekend was a non-starter and put corporations and big interests first.  Most of the pro-working class, pro small business provisions in this bill are a direct result of Democrats’ hard work in the House and Senate. Thanks to our efforts, we ended up with a bipartisan product that expands unemployment benefits; allocates billions for small business relief; and invests billions in hospitals, health care workers, and health research.

“As Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee, I am proud to have helped craft that part of the bill.  This legislation, while not perfect, will bring much needed relief to many American families and small businesses across this country, including in our great state of New York,” said Congressman Serrano.

Below is a list and breakdown of some of the numerous initiatives in the legislation –including funding that Congressman Serrano helped secure as Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee—that will help the residents of New York and all Americans:

·         A $150 Billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund:  Creates a $150 billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide states and localities additional resources to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.  It is estimated that New York will receive approximately $ 7,543 billion in desperately needed funds to benefit our state’s residents.

·         $260 Billion in Dramatically Expanded Unemployment Benefits:  Includes numerous provisions to improve unemployment benefits including providing an additional $600 per week for the next four weeks, providing an additional 13 weeks of federally funded benefits, and expanding eligibility to include workers in the gig economy and self-employed workers.

·         Immediate Direct Cash Payments to Lower and Middle-Income Americans:  Provides for immediate, direct cash payments to lower-and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child, beginning to phase out at an annual income of $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a household.  These payments will provide individuals with the cash they need right now to survive with much of the economy currently shut down.

·         More Than $375 Billion in Small Business Relief:  Provides more than $375 billion in small business relief, including $349 billion for forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees and keep them on the payroll; $17 billion for debt relief for current and new SBA borrowers; and $10 billion in immediate disaster grants.

·         Approximately $200 Billion for Our Hospitals, Health Care Workers, and Health Research:  Provides an investment of about $200 billion in our hospitals, health systems, and health research, including expanding funding for the personal protective equipment desperately needed by our health care workers, including ventilators, N95 masks, gowns, gloves, etc.

·         More Than $100 Billion in Additional Emergency Appropriations, including CJS programs under Rep. Serrano’s jurisdiction:

·         Economic Development Administration:  $1.5 billion for Economic Adjustment Assistance related to recovering from coronavirus.  This program provides public works, infrastructure, planning, and technical assistance to areas experiencing adverse economic changes.

·         NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership program:  $50 million to help manufacturers prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, while waiving the matching requirement both for supplemental funds as well as for the FY 20 regular funds.

·         NIST National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (also known as “Manufacturing USA”):  $10 million to support development and manufacturing of medical countermeasures and biomedical equipment and supplies.  These funds will go to the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL).

·         NSF Research and Related Activities:  $75 million to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically and internationally, including to fund research grants to research the spread of and how to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus.

·         Legal Services Corporation:  $50 million to help low-income Americans address legal problems that arise as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, like evictions and employment discrimination.

·         Byrne-JAG Grants:  $850 million to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.  This flexible source of funding will allow state and local law enforcement, including local prisons, to address their critical safety needs. This will allow them, for example, to obtain the personal protective equipment and other medical items they may need during this public health emergency.  The bill also includes language to ensure that this funding is not impeded by previous immigration-related restrictions that the Trump Administration has tried to impose on these grant funds.

Additionally, Congressman Serrano has posted a list of resources for New Yorkers currently being affected by the coronavirus pandemic, click here for the full list of resources.

Serrano, Price, Maloney, Raskin Press for Answers on Impact of COVID-19 on 2020 Census

Congressman Serrano, co-Chair of the Congressional Census Caucus, Congressman Price, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform and co-Chair of the Congressional Census Caucus, and Congressman Jamie Raskin, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, sent a letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross today urging the Trump Administration to provide answers on the Census Bureau’s plans to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 Census.  The Members expressed concern about how the Bureau will ensure a complete count of hard-to-count populations during the viral outbreak and requested a briefing on the Bureau’s plans for ensuring a fair and accurate census. 

“The coronavirus could have an adverse effect on the 2020 Census, and the Bureau needs to have detailed plans in place to address any disruptions this pandemic may cause. Last month, in answer to a hearing question, Secretary Ross assured me the Census Bureau is ready for any contingency.  However, he left a lot unsaid, and I remain concerned that the Census Bureau is not adequately prepared,” said Congressman Serrano. “The COVID-19 coronavirus could have an adverse impact on individuals’ self-response rate, as well as enumerators’ and partnership organizations’ ability to help ensure an accurate count.  I believe that the Department of Commerce needs to provide answers on the agency’s contingency-specific plans to prevent the virus from affecting the 2020 Census’ accuracy.”

Click here for the full text of the letter.

Congressman Serrano also encouraged Bronx residents to fill out the Census:

“April 1st was Census Day and currently the participation rate in the Bronx and across the country is lower than the 2010 Census. Our communities cannot afford to be undercounted again. I urge everyone to go to My2020Census.gov to fill out the census, you may also fill it out by phone or by mail.” Said Congressman Serrano.

Click below for the full exchange between Chairman Serrano and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on the issue:

Video

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In the Bronx


Serrano’s Office Shares List of Resources Available to New Yorkers in Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Bronx residents and all New Yorkers are facing, in one way or another, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Congressman Serrano’s office has compiled and made available on his website a list of local resources and initiatives available to help New Yorkers that need help in facing or have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Whether you can’t pay your rent, need help accessing food, or want to learn more about ways you can help, click HERE for a full list of resources.

Congressman Serrano Secures Funding for Community Health Centers in the Bronx Battling COVID-19

Congressman Serrano helped secure funding for the following seven community health centers in the Bronx to battle the coronavirus pandemic: La Casa de Salud Inc, Urban Health Plan Inc., Bronx Lebanon Integrated Service System Inc., Bronx Community Health Network, Union Community Health Center, Inc., Vocational Instruction Project Community Services Inc., Morris Heights Health Center Inc. The funding comes from the $100 million set aside by the recently passed CARES Act to assist community health centers across the country who are currently battling the coronavirus pandemic. The grants will be disbursed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“The global crisis that we are currently facing is unprecedented and we must ensure that our communities have the tools to effectively fight this pandemic. This funding will be critical to my district in the Bronx, which has been hit disproportionally hard by this crisis,” said Congressman Serrano.