Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

The Serrano Report, Volume XII, #5

Mar 20, 2015
The Serrano Report

On Capitol Hill

Congressman Serrano Introduces Legislation to Honor Herman Badillo

On Tuesday March 10th, Congressman Serrano introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to rename the Morrisania Post Office in honor of the late Representative Herman Badillo. Senator Schumer and Gillibrand introduced similar legislation in the Senate. Congressmen Rangel and Crowley also helped introduce the legislation.

 “It is an honor to serve as the original sponsor of legislation in the House of Representatives to honor the life and legacy of the late Herman Badillo by renaming the Morrisania Post Office after him. Few people have been as important in shaping the history of the Bronx and in Puerto Ricans’ participation in local and state politics as Herman Badillo – a trailblazer and leader in every sense of the word. The Herman Badillo Post Office Building will help ensure his memory lives on for generations to come,” said Congressman Serrano. 

Congressman Serrano Votes Against Resolution to Block NLRB’s Rule that Makes Union Election Process More Fair and Efficient

Last week on Thursday March 19th, Congressman Serrano voted against S.J. Res 8, a joint resolution to reject the NLRB election rule that would ultimately hurt workers’ right to a fair and timely election on union representation. The resolution passed by a vote of 232-186, with only Republicans voting in support. The President has promised to veto the resolution.

“It seems like a small technicality, but this extreme resolution would have a huge impact on workers’ ability to unionize in a timely and effective manner. The NLRB election rule that the resolution seeks to weaken prevents unscrupulous employers from engaging in dubious tactics to delay the election process by establishing a clear and standard pre-election process, allowing workers to vote on time without outside manipulation.  Furthermore, it simply updates an outdated rule and regulates something that is already common practice in many regions. Without this updated rule, workers may still fall prey to employers’ pressure and manipulation in their efforts to organize and join labor unions. This would ultimately weaken workers’ freedom to choose to be heard,” said Congressman Serrano.

Congressman Serrano Co-Sponsors Voter Empowerment Act

On Thursday March 19th, Congressman José E. Serrano also joined Congressmen John Lewis, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, James Clyburn, John Conyers, and Robert Brady in introducing the Voter Empowerment Act (VEA) as an original co-sponsor. The VEA, which was co-sponsored by more than 170 House Democrats, will modernize our country’s voting registration system to ensure every eligible voter has equal rights and equal access to the ballot box. The VEA has three main components: improving access, protecting the integrity, and ensuring accountability in the electoral process. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York will introduce similar legislation in the Senate. 

“Fifty years after Bloody Sunday and the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, we find ourselves revisiting old battles and fighting new efforts to restrict access to the ballot box. The Voter Empowerment Act is the most comprehensive voting rights and election administration legislation in Congress, and with it we reaffirm our commitment to protecting Americans’ constitutional right to vote and the integrity of our elections,” said Congressman Serrano.

Since 2010, new measures that make it more difficult for millions of Americans to vote have been adopted in twenty-two states. These measures make it particularly harder for seniors, students, low-income people, disabled individuals, and those who speak English as a second language to exercise their right to vote. Making matters worse, in June of 2013, the Supreme Court invalidated a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in Shelby County v. Holder that prevented certain states with a history of racial discrimination in voting from making any election changes without running them first by the Department of Justice.

Serrano Questions Commissioner Koskinen About the IRS Budget

Last week on Wednesday March 18th, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to evaluate the Internal Revenue Service’s Budget requests for fiscal year 2016 and the challenges the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is currently facing due to budgetary cuts in recent years.

"Since fiscal year 2010, the IRS budget has been cut by more than $1.2 billion.  And if some in the other party had had their way, they would have been cut even further. The results of these cuts are predictable.  Is it a surprise to anyone that the IRS telephone response rates have plummeted?  Is it news to anyone that the IRS is unlikely to collect as many taxes when we reduce their funding in such a ham-handed way?  It is time to stop punishing the IRS, and time to start reinvesting in the one part of the federal government that most Americans have an interaction with and an agency is crucial to our government’s operations.”

In the Bronx

Congressman Serrano Hosts Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet in the Bronx

Last Friday, Congressman Serrano and Assemblyman Michael Blake hosted the head of the Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet, in the Bronx for a for a luncheon discussion with stakeholders on the resources available help local small businesses grow and succeed, and to explore the vision of how business and community can work together to promote economic development in the borough.

“It was an honor to host Administrator Contreras-Sweet in the Bronx today to exchange ideas on how we can help local small businesses to promote job creation and the growth of our economy. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and here in the Bronx we have a vibrant community of entrepreneurs, particularly among women, which is why I have always made it a priority to help promote the growth of this important sector in my role as Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee," said Congressman Serrano.

Congressman Serrano with Administrator Contreras-Sweet, Assemblyman Blake and other event attendees. (3/20/2015)


Congressman Serrano Rallies for Fair Wages and Work Benefits for Residential Workers in the Bronx

Last week, Congressman José E. Serrano joined hundreds of 32BJ SEIU residential workers on Wednesday March 11th at a rally outside Bronx Borough Hall to demand fair wages and work benefits. Thousands of residential service workers who work in over 1,000 apartment buildings in the Bronx are currently renegotiating their contracts with their employers.

“Our community’s hardworking people deserve access to fair wages and benefits that allow them to meet their basic needs, provide for their families, and plan for their future,” said Congressman Serrano.  “We need to make sure residential workers are fairly compensated and are offered the health care and retirement benefits they need to continue living and working in New York City. Today, I stand in solidarity with all the workers and families who believe in a strong and sustainable Bronx where everyone benefits from the change and transformation taking place in our neighborhoods,” said Congressman Serrano.

Congressman José E. Serrano stands in solidarity with members of 32BJ SEIU at a rally outside Bronx Borough Hall to demand fair wages and work benefits. (3/11/2015)


Congressman Serrano Helps Launch New Climate Change Coalition

Congressman Serrano joined other members of Congress, community activists, and advocates on Thursday March 12th to call for action on climate change and launch, a new coalition of Latino, Black, and other working class communities and community organizations.

 “Environmental pollution and degradation have consistently been proven to have the worst impact on minority communities. It’s time to join efforts and take action to make sure Latinos and other minority groups’ needs and concerns are taken into consideration as we address climate change. As a longtime advocate of environmental justice and the greening of urban areas, I’m proud to join to launch this important campaign,” said Congressman Serrano.

Congressman Serrano stands with NYC members of Congress, community activists and advocates to call for action on climate change and launch (3/12/2015)


Congressman Serrano Addresses Health Legislative Summit in the Bronx

On Friday March 13th, Congressman Serrano spoke at the Community Advisory Boards (CABs) of Lincoln Medical Center, Morrisania Diagnostic and Treatment Center, and Segundo Ruiz Belvis Diagnostic and Treatment Center Eleventh Annual Legislative Summit. The purpose of the summit is to develop a comprehensive legislative agenda and action plan to improve healthcare in the Bronx taking in consideration residents’ needs.

“It was an honor to join other elected officials and stakeholders at the Community Advisory Boards’ Eleventh Annual Legislative Summit. We had the opportunity to present our ideas and discuss how we can develop a comprehensive legislative agenda and action plan to improve health care in the Bronx. I look forward to continuing to work with the community leaders and organizations that were in attendance at the Summit to ensure Bronxites have access to the quality and affordable health care that they need,” said Congressman Serrano.

Congressman José E. Serrano speaks at the Community Advisory Boards (CABs) of Lincoln Medical Center, Morrisania Diagnostic and Treatment Center, and Segundo Ruiz Belvis Diagnostic and Treatment Center Eleventh Annual Legislative Summit. (3/13/2015)


Congressman Serrano Opposes Fast Track Legislation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

U.S. Congressman Serrano joined Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Nydia Velázquez, Hakeem Jeffries, and Grace Meng, as well as representatives of local labor and advocacy groups to oppose Fast Track legislation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the steps of City Hall in New York City on Monday, March 9th. Other labor and advocacy groups present at the event were: the New York State AFL-CIO; the New York City Central Labor Council; AFL-CIO; Local 420, AFSCME; New York State Council of Machinists IAMAW AFL-CIO; Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter; Teamsters Joint Council; CWA District One; Food & Water Watch.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) should get a full debate in Congress so that members of Congress can decide if this is a good deal for our workers, consumers, and the environment – in sum, if it is a good for our country. That is why I oppose fast-track authority for the TPP, which would allow this legislation to go through without sufficient discussion and analysis. In the past, we have seen fast-tracked trade agreements like NAFTA that promised more American jobs and a better life for people in other countries. These promises were never fulfilled. We can’t allow that to happen again. We must protect jobs in our country and this proposed agreement does not accomplish that goal. Today, I once again join congressional colleagues and members of my community to call for transparency and accountability as our government negotiates the TPP,” said Congressman Serrano.

Congressman Serrano stands in opposition of Fast Track legislation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with other NYC members of Congress and labor and advocacy groups representatives. (3/9/2015)