The Serrano Report - Volume XIII, Issue #1
In Washington, DC
Congressman Serrano’s Statement in Response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address
On Wednesday, Congressman José E. Serrano released the following statement in response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address:
“Last night, President Obama laid out his vision for an America that builds on the progress we have made in the last seven years by relying on the ingenuity and sense of possibility inherent in the American spirit. At a time of extraordinary change that is reshaping every aspect of our life, the President emphasized the importance of leaving behind the stale dogmas of the past that won’t provide us with the innovative solutions we need to create the future we want for our children. I was particularly glad to hear him address how we can continue growing our economy in this time of change to raise the standard of living and give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in a new economy. I was also pleased to see his focus on fixing our electoral and campaign finance systems- which will improve our democracy and make it more responsive to all Americans.
“Although not specifically mentioned in the speech, I believe that an important element of the Administration’s last year in office is finding solutions to help Puerto Rico address its economic crisis. I will continue to work with the President, Congress, and stakeholders to do just that.
“The President’s discussion of America's role in the world was also an important one. As the strongest nation in the world, America must continue leading in the 21st Century by remaining engaged, generating support to address the most pressing issues that affect the global community, and encouraging others to move towards greater human progress. At a time when we face increasingly complex and challenging issues, America must not isolate itself or resort to using military force to address every crisis. I look forward to continuing to help the Administration update our nation’s policy towards Cuba and fix our broken immigration system. We will only be successful in this endeavor if we rise above fear and cynicism to work together and are willing to have rational, constructive conversations with each other.”
Serrano Speaks Out Against New ICE Raids
Last Friday, Congressman José E. Serrano spoke out against the ongoing raids by the Department of Homeland Security to detain and deport families who fled violence in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Serrano took part in a press conference hosted by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) that day calling for an immediate end to the raids.
“I am deeply disturbed that ICE is choosing to once again tear families apart, something that happens far too often in our broken immigration system. That’s why I stood with my CHC colleagues in calling on the President to end the harmful and hurtful raids by the Department of Homeland Security. Many of the families affected by these new efforts actually came to our country seeking refuge from danger and violence in their home countries. Our nation should not undermine its own values by attempting to send them back to these dangerous situations. We in Congress must work to find solutions to address these issues- the most important of which is comprehensive immigration reform.”
Congressman Serrano Participates in Energy Hearing on Puerto Rico
On Tuesday, Congressman José E. Serrano participated in a hearing held by the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources
about the circumstances leading to the current financial crisis faced by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), the state-owned public utility. Several energy-related issues affecting Puerto Rico were discussed, including the high cost of electricity as an obstacle to economic growth and development, structural reforms at PREPA, and the need to modernize the energy infrastructure on the island.
Congressman Serrano questioned PREPA’s Chief Restructuring Officer, Lisa Donahue, on reports that PREPA planned to cut electricity to some of the island’s hospitals and expressed deep concerns about these actions.
With regard to Puerto Rico’s current financial crisis, Congressman Serrano supports enacting a legislative package that authorizes PR to have access to Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code like every other state, in order to allow its municipalities and public corporations to restructure its debts in a fair and orderly manner. In addition, he strongly supports providing Puerto Rico with more equitable treatment in programs such as Medicare and Medicaid as well as federal tax credit programs such as the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit.