Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

The Serrano Report - Volume VII, Issue #10

May 22, 2015
The Serrano Report

In Washington, DC

Congressman Serrano Honored for Work in Support of CDFIs

On Tuesday, Congressman José E. Serrano was presented with the CDFI Congressional Champion Award by the Opportunity Finance Network for his work in support of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and the financial empowerment of low-income individuals and communities. Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) were also presented with the award this year.

"As both Chairman and Ranking Member of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, I have consistently made it a priority to increase funding for the CDFI Fund for one simple reason — CDFIs fill a void in financial services and deliver tangible results to underserved communities all across the nation ,” said Congressman Serrano. “CDFIs are crucial in places like the Bronx and their investments have spurred economic development, made it possible for many to buy their first home or start their business, and helped finance the creation of important community housing and health care facilities. It's an honor to receive the CDFI Congressional Champion Award, and I will continue supporting these important institutions in Congress.”

Congressman Serrano (center) stands with Lori Chatman, President of the Enterprise Community Loan Fund (left) and Mark Pinsky, President and CEO of the Opportunity Finance Network (right) after receiving the 2015 CDFI Congressional Champion Award. (5/19/2015)

Crowley, Serrano Announce House Approval of Bipartisan Measure to Expand Access to STEM Fields for Hispanic Students

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan amendment to the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act calling for expanding access to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) of higher education. The amendment was offered by Reps. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, and José E. Serrano (D-the Bronx), as well as Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Will Hurd (R-TX), and Carlos Curbelo (R-FL).

The amendment requires the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish a grant program to support undergraduate STEM education at HSIs. Encouraging underrepresented minorities, such as Hispanic students, to enter STEM fields is crucial for our country to remain competitive in today’s global economy. The amendment is the latest move in the longstanding effort to establish this program, including recent legislation introduced by Serrano, Crowley, and Luján in April.

“As the largest minority in our nation, we need to ensure that Hispanics have the opportunity and are prepared to take the STEM jobs of tomorrow. Right now, far too few Hispanics enter these important fields of study in college. By creating a specific stream of funding for Hispanic Serving Institutions, this amendment will help expand opportunities for Hispanic students in the STEM fields. STEM is vital for the United States’ global competitiveness, and the only way we can guarantee that our country will continue leading the way is by investing in the education of our future generations,” said Serrano.

Congressman Serrano Adds Amendments to CJS Appropriations Bill

On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee marked up the fiscal year 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill.  As a senior member of the Committee, Serrano included two changes at the markup that improve the overall legislation, and worked tirelessly to point out and address other issues throughout the appropriations process.  

The first change restores funding to a program that is part of President Obama’s efforts to address problems between local police and the communities they serve.  The program, entitled Collaborative Reform, provides assistance to communities to review local police practices, recommend reforms, create a space for discussion between the police and the communities they serve, and build trust between both sides.  

The second change dedicates $1 million in funding to ensure that information desks are available at our nation's busiest immigration courts to provide individuals going through deportation proceedings with information, legal advice, and referral to legal counsel.  This will improve the fairness of our immigration court system, where far too many must face a deportation proceeding without a lawyer or even a basic understanding of the process.

"I was glad to include these provisions in the legislation that passed out of committee,” said Serrano.  “Although I still have some serious concerns about this legislation, this additional funding will help address issues of basic fairness and justice that are important to the Bronx.  As this bill moves through the process, I will continue to work to restore funding to the Legal Services Corporation and other programs that are vital to New Yorkers.”

The legislation now moves to the full House of Representatives for further consideration.

Congressman Serrano Celebrates Head Start’s 50th Anniversary

On Monday, Congressman José E. Serrano released the following statement in celebration of Head Start’s 50th Anniversary:

“Over 30 million working families have been able to send their children to preschool and take better care of them thanks to Head Start’s work during the past five decades.  All throughout the nation, Head Start programs provide children with the foundation they need to succeed in school and later on in life.  Their work is crucial in the Bronx, where countless families and children have benefited over the years from the dedicated staff and teachers who work with them on a daily basis.  Last year alone, more than 5,600 people in the Bronx were served by a Head Start program.

“Unfortunately, the Republican budget plans to cut more funds from Head Start, threatening its ability to continue providing services to our neediest families.  Congress needs to protect funding for Head Start and guarantee that all of our children have access to a well-rounded education from an early age. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue fighting to ensure this important program is properly funded."


New Pathways for Fathers and Families

Deadline: July 7, 2015 

The Department of Health and Human Services has made funding available through the Administration for Children and Families for the New Pathways for Fathers and Families program, which aims to support activities promoting responsible fatherhood as enacted by the Claims Resolution Act of 2010. This initiative is designed to help fathers establish or strengthen positive parental interaction by providing activities that develop and improve relationship, communication and parenting skills, and contribute to the financial well-being of their children by providing job training and other employment services. States (including state, territorial, and tribal institutions of higher education), territories, Native American tribes and tribal organizations, and public and nonprofit community entities (including religious organizations and public and private nonprofit institutions of higher education) are encouraged to apply.

Please follow this link for the full grant announcement

For more information about federal grants please visit