The Serrano Report - Volume XIII, Issue #6
In Washington, DC
Congressman Serrano Participates in Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony
On April 13, Congressman Serrano joined House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, other members of Congress, veterans that were part of the regiment, and community leaders in a bipartisan medal ceremony held in the Capitol to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 65th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army (the “Borinqueneers”). This regiment was the last segregated unit composed primarily of Puerto Rican soldiers and was noted for its bravery and service—particularly in the Korean War.
Two years ago, Congressman Serrano spoke on the House floor in support of H.R. 1726, the bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal that led to this ceremony and recognition. Watch Congressman Serrano’s remarks here: http://bit.ly/1qs8CRj
“I was honored to be part of the ceremony where we awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to The Borinqueneers. We honored them for their service and we honored those who gave it all on the battlefield. It was a touching emotional event for a regiment that had deserved this recognition for a long time,” said Congressman Serrano.
Congressman Serrano’s Statement on the Most Recent Version of Legislation in Congress to Address the Economic Crisis in Puerto Rico
On April 12, the House Natural Resources Committee released draft legislation related to Puerto Rico’s crisis. Congressman Serrano released the following statement:
“I want to thank the committee for incorporating many of the suggestions from our side of the aisle. I believe the revised draft of the bill is improved as a result.
“However, I am still very troubled by some issues. Section 204 ultimately allows the board to exercise veto authority over legislation duly enacted by the Puerto Rican legislature and Governor. I believe this section undermines local democracy in Puerto Rico, and increases the colonial aspects of the current relationship.
“Also, the bar to enter the restructuring process is too high and threatens to make it almost impossible for Puerto Rico to restructure any of its debt. Lastly, a couple of riders undermine some labor protections in the island. I will continue to work to improve these sections, and the bill as a whole.”
Congressman Serrano Co-Sponsors Bill to Stop Undocumented Veterans Deportation
Last Wednesday, Congressman Serrano (D-NY) joined a group of veteran members of Congress to introduce legislation that would help deported veterans to reunite with their families in the United States. The bill would also prevent the removal of service members and veterans in the future.
The Restoring Respect for Immigrant Service in Uniform Act urges the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to use his powers under current law to readmit veterans into the United States who have been deported and who have not committed a serious crime. The bill also limits the current grounds of deportability to prevent the removal of a service member or veteran who has served at least 6 months in the military and who has not committed a serious crime. Led by Congressman Representative Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Reps. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Charles Rangel (D-NY) are also original co-sponsors of the legislation.
“Immigrants, regardless of status, come to our nation because they believe in the ideals, values, and opportunities that exist here. Some feel so strongly about their adopted nation that they choose to serve in our armed forces, and we should honor and respect that service. This bill addresses the inconceivable situation that some veterans find themselves in after their service – deported and forced to separate from their families. That our country deports those who have defended our flag and lived up to our nation’s most important ideals tells you all you need to know about how broken our immigration system currently is. Our nation needs comprehensive immigration reform, but this is a common sense first step that no one should object to,” said Congressman Serrano.
The full text of the bill can be found here.
Congressman Serrano Sends Letter to Verizon CEO Regarding Current Worker Strike in NYC and other mid-Atlantic and Northeast Cities
Last week, Congressman Serrano sent a letter to Verizon Communications Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lowell McAdam regarding the current worker strike affecting New York City and other communities across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Nearly 40,000 workers walked off site on April 13, after nearly 10 months of contract negotiations ended in deadlock.
“Last week, I sent a letter to CEO Lowell McAdam showing my support for the thousands of workers who are currently standing up for their rights to fair wages and benefits. Many of the workers on strike happen to be my constituents in the Bronx,” said Congressman Serrano. “Time and again, we see workers take a back seat in reaping the success of their labor, and it’s time we ensure their fair treatment in contract negotiations.”
“Verizon is a highly profitable corporation that provides good jobs for New Yorkers. The proposal to a minor increase in wages, higher employee contributions for health care, reductions in retirement benefits, and flexibility in relocating and separating employees from their families for months at a time for projects in other regions of the country is unacceptable, and Verizon workers deserve better,” stated Congressman Serrano in the letter. “In addition to not living up to its commitment to its employees, Verizon has failed to move forward in completing its FiOS buildout in the City. Nowhere is this inaction felt more than in the Bronx, which has historically been underserved and has yet to reap the many benefits of improved telecommunications infrastructure and services. I urge Verizon to move forward on both fronts as quickly as possible.”
To view the letter, please click here.
Serrano Announces Energy Technical Assistance for PR in Appropriations Bill
Last week, Congressman José E. Serrano announced that a provision he inserted into the report accompanying the fiscal year 2017 Energy and Water Appropriations bill directs the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to offer technical and programmatic assistance to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
"While I am glad this report language will help Puerto Rico obtain both technical and programmatic assistance to support investment in innovative technologies for the energy and water sectors, I am disheartened that it continues to take Congressional action to ensure that Puerto Rico receives the attention it deserves from the federal government," said Congressman José E. Serrano. "The current fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico has prevented the island’s government from investing in innovative technologies that make its energy and water utility companies more efficient and cost-effective. I hope that through this language we are able to help the people of Puerto Rico access better services from their utility companies."
The following report language is contained in the report accompanying the FY 2017 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill:
The Committee directs EERE to offer technical and other programmatic assistance to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to support investment in innovative technologies to effectively reduce power system emissions, efficiently treat wastewater, and generate power from solid waste.
Congressman Serrano Meets with Military Officers Association of America
Earlier this month, Congressman Serrano met with members of the Military Officers Association of America and discussed current issues affecting military retirees. The Congressman thanked them for their service to our Nation and expressed his strong support for our veterans.
In the Bronx
Congressman Serrano Speaks Discusses Puerto Rico’s Economic Crisis and the Role of Congress at Centro’s Puerto Rico Diaspora Summit
Last Friday, Congressman Serrano participated in the Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños “Puerto Rico/ Puerto Ricans” Diaspora Summit where he discussed the fiscal crisis & other issues relevant to the Puerto Rican community and the role of Congress. Congressman Serrano is the longest serving Puerto Rican in Congress.
“The Diaspora Summit was a huge success. We organized around the fiscal crisis and other issues. My congratulations to the participants and organizers for putting together this historic event. As I told people in attendance, millions of people are suffering on the island and Congress can’t keep postponing action to provide them with some relief. I will continue fighting in Congress to provide the island with the mechanisms to restructure its debt and grow its economy,” said Congressman Serrano.
Fordham University’s 13th Annual Diversity Network Banquet
Earlier this month, Congressman Serrano addressed guests at Fordham University’s 13th Annual Diversity Network Banquet, where students were provided the opportunity to network with potential private sector potential and business leaders from various fields to learn more about what employers are looking for in future employees and how they can become better candidates for jobs.
“Starting your professional career can be daunting and a full time job in itself. Having the right guidance and information on potential employers is extremely important. Fordham University’s 13th Annual Diversity Network Banquet was a great opportunity for our students to learn first-hand how to become our country’s future business leaders and entrepreneurs. I was honored to have joined them for this important occasion to mark their transition to professional life,” said Congressman Serrano.
Congressman Serrano Opposes TPP
On Thursday, April 7th, Congressman Serrano joined fellow Members of Congress, other elected officials, advocates, and union leaders to speak out in opposition of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. Congressman Serrano has spoken on many occasions about his disapproval of the TPP agreement citing concerns about how working-class individuals, families, businesses, and the environment would adversely be affected. He has strongly advocated for a fair trade agreement that protects American workers, the environment, and our economy.