Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

The Serrano Report - Volume XII, Issue #12

Jun 12, 2015
The Serrano Report

In Washington, DC


Congressman Serrano Votes Against Trade Bill to Grant the President Fast-Track Authority and to Extend Adjustment Program

Today, U.S. Congressman José E. Serrano voted against the Trade Act of 2015 (H.R. 1314) in a series of votes on the House floor.  The Trade Act of 2015 authorizes trade promotion authority (TPA), giving the President the power to negotiate a free trade agreement with little input from Congress. It also includes trade adjustment legislation (TAA), which Serrano opposed in a separate vote due to concerns with the low amount of funding allocated for the program and cuts to Medicare used to pay for it, as well as the exclusion of public sector workers from it. 

“As our government negotiates the largest trade agreement in history, we must take into consideration the needs of those who will be affected by a bad free trade agreement. Granting the President authority to negotiate a trade agreement of this magnitude, with equally enormous implications, will take away from Congress, and the people we represent, the ability to shape the final product.  Past free trade agreements negotiated under fast track powers have not lived up to the promises made to protect workers, our economy, and the environment.  We have witnessed the devastating effects that agreements like NAFTA have had on local communities– leaving many out of work and hurting consumers and the environment. We need to ensure any trade agreement that is negotiated helps level the playing field and don’t contribute to further income inequality and job displacement, and for that Congress’ input is vital. 

“We also must ensure the trade adjustment program has the funds needed to adequately help displaced workers suffering the effects of free trade and globalization. While I support the program, I couldn’t vote in favor of legislation that actually reduces overall funding for TAA and pays for it by taking funds from Medicare – a double whammy for hard working Americans. Trade is important for our economic growth and prosperity, but we need to have a full debate in Congress about the TPP to ensure it is a fair trade agreement that represents economic opportunity for everyone, not just a few large corporations and special interests,” said Congressman José E. Serrano.

Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee Markup

Yesterday, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations subcommittee considered and passed legislation to fund numerous branches of government. The bill contains major cuts to the Internal Revenue Service, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission proposed by Republicans.

“Numerous agencies are severely underfunded, and this subcommittee has been unable to allocate adequate funding for the areas that are critical to taxpayers, consumers, investors, and federal employees. The IRS is cut almost $900 million from last year's funding levels. The Securities and Exchange Commission is also funded at $222 million below the President's request and the Federal Communications Commission is cut by $25 million,” said House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Ranking Member Serrano. “Democrats will try to fix this legislation as it moves through the process. As it is, this is not a bill that our side will support."

 

In the Bronx


Historic High Bridge Re-Opens to the Public

On Tuesday, Congressman Serrano joined local state officials at the ribbon cutting ceremony to reopen the renovated High Bridge. The oldest standing bridge in New York, the  45 years has been able to be revived due to major renovations.

“After years of hard work at the local level to bring this project to fruition, it is exciting to see the High Bridge completely renovated and open again to the public,” said Congressman José E. Serrano. “This project will help connect the Bronx to Manhattan, expand access to green space and outdoor recreational opportunities. I am incredibly proud to have been able to get this project started with $5 million in federal earmark funding, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on the Bronx's quality of life and health. This opening is a testament to the hard work of local community groups, and their perseverance in working to reopen one of the real historic treasures in our city.”

Congressman Serrano cutting the commemorative ribbon at the High Bridge, now open for non-vehicular transportation. (June 9, 2015)

The bridge required major renovations. It will now serve as an alternative transportation route for pedestrians and bicyclists. The $61.8 million dollar renovation project was made possible thanks to $5 million dollars in earmark funding secured by Serrano, in addition to funding from the NYC Parks Department. High Bridge will help encourage a healthy lifestyle and will be enjoyed by current residents, tourists and future generations to come.

Congressman Serrano offering remarks thanking those who supported and help push the bridge renovation project forward. (June 9, 2015)

 

Congressman Serrano crosses the High Bridge with Bronx local officials and community leaders. (June 9, 2015)

Grants


Skills for Success Program

Deadline: July 29, 2015 

The Department of Education has made funding available through the Office of Innovation and Improvement for the Skills for Success program, which aims to support Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) and their partners in implementing, evaluating, and refining tools and approaches for developing the non-cognitive skills of middle-grade students in order to increase student success. These grants will provide funding for the implementation, evaluation, and refinement of existing tools and approaches (e.g. digital games, growth mindset classroom activities, experimental learning opportunities) that integrate the development of non-cognitive skills into classroom level activities and existing strategies designed to improve schools. Eligible applicants are local educational agencies in partnerships with a nonprofit, an institution of higher education, or other local education agencies. These local education agencies are encouraged to apply.

Please follow this link for the full grant announcement http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=277103. For more information about federal grants please visithttp://www.grants.gov