The Serrano Report - Volume XIII, Issue #4
In Washington, DC
Ranking Member Serrano Discusses Budget with OMB and GSA
On Tuesday January 23, Ranking Member José E. Serrano discussed the President’s budget request with Shaun Donovan, Director of the Office of Management and Budget to discuss the agency’s request for fiscal year 2017 and new initiatives that will help coordinate government-wide responses to pressing issues. The hearing was particularly important given the fact that this year, House Republicans took the unprecedented step of refusing to invite Director Donovan to testify on the Administration’s budget proposal. Serrano, as the Ranking Member on the subcommittee, defended the President’s proposal against Republican attacks.
“I think it especially necessary to hear what Director Donovan has to say about the fiscal year 2017 budget as a whole,” said Serrano. “I believe that the President’s request, prepared with his counsel, creates a strategic plan that strengthens our economy and invests in working families by improving access to early and higher education as well as affordable healthcare, investing in our infrastructure, and partnering with local communities and business to create good-paying jobs and affordable housing. I commend OMB for your role in these efforts. I also want to commend Chairman Crenshaw for his decision to hold this hearing today- I think it speaks well of the Appropriations Committee’s more bipartisan nature. Although we may have differences of opinion about what our policy priorities should be, I am glad to know that the Chairman believes that we should hear all sides of the debate
The following week, Ranking Member Serrano chaired a hearing with Denise Turner Roth, Administrator of the General Services Administration also to discuss the agency’s budget request for fiscal year 2017, as well as how a number of key projects are moving forward.
“GSA plays a critical role in making sure our government is running efficiently and effectively, that it is open and transparent to our citizens, and that our federal agencies have the resources they need in order to succeed,” said Serrano in his opening statement. “It is only one agency, but it combines a variety of responsibilities that are critical to how our government operates. This is why last year the appropriations committee increased funding for a number of new and important initiatives, including the construction of new government buildings..”
Congressman Serrano Helps Introduce Bipartisan Legislation To End Wrongful Postal Facilities Closures
On Tuesday, Congressman Serrano joined Reps. Jared Huffman (D-CA), David McKinley (R- WV), and Evan Jenkins (R-WV) to introduced the Stop Postal Closures Act of 2016, bipartisan legislation to end the misguided closure and consolidations of mail processing facilities across the country.
In recent years, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has been closing or consolidating mail processing plants as well as post offices in many states. The effect has been delays in mail delivery, missed overnight mail deadlines, and reduced frequency of deliveries. This changes have had a particularly adverse effect on seniors, veterans, and rural communities who depend on the U.S. Postal Service delivery system for prescriptions and other services. After temporarily halting of these closures, the closures are expected to continue in Spring 2016.
“For too long, the Postal Service has closed facilities without adequate notice, input, or understanding of the impact that closure has on taxpayers,” said Congressman José E. Serrano. “This bipartisan legislation will ensure that the USPS fully understands the impact their decisions have on local communities; strengthens the notification process so citizens can have their voices heard; and restores national service standards to improve delivery for all Americans. People in the Bronx and elsewhere have already been negatively affected by Postal Service decisions to close or sell facilities and to lower service standards, and it is time for Congress to act. I have fought for many years to make the Postal Service more accountable to the people they serve, and I am proud to stand with my colleagues in introducing this legislation today.”
Congressman Serrano Receives Update from NY National Guard
On Tuesday, Major General Patrick Murphy—the Adjutant General of the New York State National Guard—and his staff gave an update to Congressman Serrano and his staff on the current security initiatives being undertaken to keep New York City and its residents safe. Congressman Serrano expressed his strong support for the NY National Guard and thanked them for their service.
Congressman Serrano Meets with Hunger Free USA Members
On Tuesday, Congressman Serrano met with several members of Hunger Free USA who are constituents of the Bronx. They discussed with Congressman Serrano the work that Hunger Free USA has been involved in to combat hunger insecurity in NYC.
“I enjoyed meeting with members of Hunger Free USA. These individuals work tirelessly to safeguard nutrition benefits and expand the hunger safety in our community. I will continue fighting increase funding for these important programs,” said Congressman Serrano.
Congressman José E. Serrano with members of Hunger Free USA
Congressman Serrano Discusses Child Nutrition with Local 372 President and Members
On Tuesday, Congressman Serrano spoke with the President and members of DC 37 Local 372. The members of Local 372 informed Congressman Serrano about all of the work they were doing to advocate for the reauthorization of the child nutrition programs. “Our children deserve the best opportunities to succeed in their education,” said Congressman Serrano. “Child nutrition programs, such as school lunches, ensure that children have access to healthy and nutritional meals, and as a result, are better able to learn. As member of the Appropriations Committee, I have fought and will continue to fight for maintaining funding of nutrition assistance programs.”
Congressman Serrano Meets with Social Work Students from Nyack College
On Tuesday, Congressman Serrano met with a group of social work students from Nyack College who were on Capitol Hill advocating for H.R. 3712, the Improving Access to Mental Health Act. These students talked to the Congressman about the challenges clinical social workers face in trying to provide clients with the best access to mental health care and services. Congressman Serrano pledged his support for the bill and his commitment to helping social workers receive fair compensation. “In New York City, clinical social workers play such an integral role in ensuring the health and wellness of our residents living with mental illness,” said Serrano. “H.R. 3712 will ensure that Medicare adequately reimburses clinical social workers and that seniors have access to high-quality mental health care.”
Congressman José E. Serrano with NYACK College students
In New York City
Serranos Host Annual Black History Month Celebration
Last week, Congressman José E. Serrano and State Senator José M. Serrano held their annual Black History Month Celebration at Hostos Community College to commemorate African-American contributions to our nation and our borough by honoring local community leaders.
This year, Congressman Charles B. Rangel, Reverend Frederick Crawford, Claudette Colvin, and Etta Ritter were honored.
“Black History Month serves as an opportunity to reflect on and honor the contributions that African-Americans have made to our country. It is during this month we celebrate the important contributions African-Americans have made in the arts, education, literature, music science, technology and civil rights. I am honored to represent a district in a state that has been the birthplace of many of our nation’s greatest Black leaders and the location of numerous key historical events,” said Congressman Serrano.
“This is why every year, I hold an event to recognize the achievements of several African-American leaders who are from the Bronx and New York City. This year, I have the great honor of recognizing Reverend Frederick Crawford, Claudette Clovin, Etta Ritter, and my dear friend and colleague, the Honorable Congressman Charles B. Rangel. Each of these individuals has tirelessly fought to ensure that justice and civil rights are upheld for everyone within our community and the rest of the nation. Today, we honor their leadership, commitment to social justice, and dedication to public service. Our country is a better place because of their contributions to government, civil rights, and community service,” he added.
“During this month's black history celebration, it was my privilege to honor some truly extraordinary individuals for their contributions to society. These remarkable citizens are the bedrock of their communities and true trailblazers. Their contributions are felt on a daily basis and should not be limited to being celebrated and acknowledged just once a year. Many thanks to all of our amazing honorees for their dedication to service and unwavering commitment to bettering the world around them," said State Senator José M. Serrano.
CAPTION: Congressman José E. Serrano and State Senator José M. Serrano with Hostos Community College President Dr. David Gomez (02/22/2016).
CAPTION: Congressman José E. Serrano and State Senator José M. Serrano with honoree Congressman Charles B. Rangel (NY-13). (02/22/2016)
CAPTION: Congressman José E. Serrano and State Senator José M. Serrano with honoree and Civil Rights Pioneer Ms. Claudette Colvin. (02/22/2016)
CAPTION: Congressman José E. Serrano and State Senator José M. Serrano with honoree Ms. Etta F. Ritter, Administrative Manager –Community Planning Board #3. (02/22/2016)
CAPTION: Congressman José E. Serrano and State Senator José M. Serrano with honoree Rev. Frederick Crawford, Senior Pastor – Union Grove Missionary Baptist Church.
CAPTION: (top, left to right) Rev. Michael Thomas, Deputy Bronx Borough President Aurelia Greene, City Councilmember Vanessa Gibson, NYS Senator José M. Serrano, Congressman José E. Serrano, Rev. Frederick Crawford, District Leader Cynthia Cox , NYS Assembly member Michael Blake, Gloria Davis, (bottom row, left to right) Ms. Claudette Colvin, Ms. Helen Foreman-Hines, Ms. Etta Ritter. (02/22/2016)
Serrano Gives Keynote Address at Conference on Building Savings at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Last week, Congressman Serrano was the keynote speaker at a conference entitled “Leveraging Tax Time to Build Financial Capability: Research Evidence and Policy Directions,” convened by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, Inc., New America, Center for Social Development, JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Intuit Tax & Financial Center. Congressman Serrano spoke about legislation he has introduced, the Financial Security Credit Act, to encourage savings at tax time through the federal tax code.
“Far too many families live paycheck to paycheck and lack the necessary savings to meet short term and long-term financial needs," said Congressman Serrano. “At any given moment they could face financial disaster and unfortunately this reality has only gotten worse. Tax season serves as a good opportunity for working families to build savings by setting aside a portion of their tax refund. That is precisely what my bill seeks to do- incentivize working families to save a portion of their tax refund, and to hopefully maintain and invest those savings. If they do so, then they will also be able to multiply the amount of their saving immediately by receiving a tax credit of up to $500 that would be directly deposited in their account – allowing them to save even more. This program has already been a success in a number of cities, including New York City. As tax season approaches, we should work to make it a reality nationwide.”