The Serrano Report - Volume XIII, Issue #8
In Washington, DC
Congressman Serrano Appointed to Zika Conference Committee
On Thursday, Congressman Serrano was appointed by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to be one of the 5 Democratic members that will be a part of the conference committee of the House and Senate versions of the FY 2017 Military Construction-VA Appropriations bill that includes funding to address the Zika virus. The Zika funding levels included in both the House and Senate versions of the bill are below the $1.9 billion requested by the President and recommended by top U.S. public health officials.
“The Zika bills that Republicans have sent to conference are an insufficient and indefensible effort to address a serious problem that threatens to affect many Americans’ health in the future,” said Congressman Serrano. “Zika is already spreading in the United States, and in particular in Puerto Rico. We can’t postpone addressing this problem and allocating the right amount of funding. The President and public health experts have recommended $1.9 billion to address this crisis, but Republicans have gone with figures well below that number. As a member of the conference committee, I look forward to helping shine a light on Republicans’ irresponsibility and demanding the full amount necessary to properly address it.”
The five House Democratic members appointed to the conference committee are:
• Congresswoman Nita Lowey of New York, Ranking Member, Committee on Appropriations
• Congressman José Serrano of New York
• Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut
• Congressman Sanford Bishop of Georgia
• Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida
Congressman Serrano's Statement on Puerto Rico Bill
Last week, Representatives José E. Serrano (D-NY-15) commented on legislation related to Puerto Rico that introduced in the House Natural Resources Committee on May 18, 2016:
“Once again I thank the Natural Resources committee for taking into consideration our feedback and incorporating numerous suggestions from our side. I also want to thank leadership from both sides of the aisle for their hard work to bring the bill to this point.
“The bill agreed to and released by the committee represents real progress, including in the restructuring language and in preserving local input in the process. It is not perfect, and further changes may be needed in addressing issues affecting working families and retirees as this legislation moves through the House, but I believe that we have taken several steps in the right direction.
I look forward to working on these issues as the bill moves forward, and providing the island with the tools needed to comprehensively address this crisis.”
Congressman Serrano Speaks on MLB's Decision to Cancel Games in PR & Against Use of Term "Illegal Alien"
Last week, Congressman Serrano spoke about the Major League Baseball’s decision to cancel baseball games in Puerto Rico in response to the Zika virus. Watch his remarks here: http://bit.ly/1rSwbUj
Congressman Serrano also spoke in opposition of an amendment that requires the Library of Congress to use the term “illegal aliens” when referring to undocumented or unauthorized immigrants. Watch his remarks on the use of the term here: http://bit.ly/1rUFjrB
Congressman Serrano Sends Letter to President Obama Calling for Release of Oscar Lopez Rivera
On Thursday, the four Puerto Rican Democratic Members of Congress released a letter they wrote to President Obama asking for a meeting to discuss the “immediate release” of Oscar López Rivera, a federal prisoner for 35 years who is considered the last Puerto Rican political prisoner held by the United States. The letter, sent on February 24, 2016, makes the case for Mr. López Rivera’s release and appeals to the President’s sense of justice.
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL), Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) and Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi of Puerto Rico all signed the letter, but so far, have not been granted a meeting with the President to discuss the matter.
The letter is part of a broad, diverse, and sustained call for Mr. López Rivera’s release coming from all sectors across Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican diaspora and allies. All four Democratic Puerto Ricans in Congress have been engaged in an extensive, quiet campaign over the past several years to build support for Mr. López Rivera’s release.
The full text of the letter is here: http://1.usa.gov/1UfDiPN
Healthcare Leadership Council Recognized Congressman Serrano for Leadership in Healthcare Innovation
Earlier this month, the Healthcare Leadership Council presented Congressman Serrano with the Healthcare Innovation Award in recognition of his work in Congress in support of Healthcare innovation.
The award ceremony took place at the Council’s annual Healthcare Innovations Expo on Capitol Hill. The day-long event is dedicated to showcasing new developments in health care technologies, treatments, and practices. This year’s event featured, among other displays, emerging cancer therapies, virtual reality technologies to assist veterans with post-combat stress challenges, and uses of health data sharing to combat opioid abuse and addiction.
“It was an honor to be presented with the Healthcare Leadership Council’s Champion of Healthcare Innovation Award. I’m also thrilled to have had the opportunity to learn more about the most cutting edge developments in healthcare technology and treatment, including for the treatment of cancer and addiction. Technology has a direct impact on the quality of healthcare in our nation and we must continue investing in this important area,” said Congressman Serrano.
Congressman Serrano Meets with Colombia’s Ambassador to the United States
Last week, Congressman Serrano met with the Ambassador of Colombia to the United States, Juan Carlos Pinzón, to discuss U.S.-Colombia relations and the ongoing Peace Process.
Congressman Serrano Joins Leader Pelosi and Other Democratic Members to Denounce Republicans' Efforts to Undermine Women's Health
Last week, Congressman Serrano joined House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Ranking Member Jan Schakowsky and other Democratic Members to denounce Republican efforts to undermine women’s access to health care critical and critical medical research through the "Select Committee to Attack Women’s Health.” This committee is a misguided initiative on the part of the Republican majority to prevent women from accessing reproductive health services and critical health care research that uses fetal tissue.
Congressman Serrano Celebrates Cinco de Mayo
On Cinco de Mayo, Congressman José E. Serrano released the following statement:
Cinco de Mayo marks the Mexican army’s victory in the Battle of Puebla in 1862, which stopped the French invasion of the country, and is a source of great pride for individuals of Mexican descent.
“Happy Cinco de Mayo to all my Mexican friends and everyone who celebrates this important day! Today we celebrate Mexican culture and history by remembering the men and women who stopped the French invasion of Mexico in 1862 in the Battle of Puebla. Mexicans were outnumbered and underequipped but on May 5, 1862 they defeated one of the strongest armies in the world at the time. This was a feat of courage, and to this day is a source of great pride.
“Cinco de Mayo also serves as an opportunity to celebrate the countless contributions Mexican-Americans have made to our nation and our borough. We also celebrate the rich cultural traditions and strong community values that characterize the Mexican and Hispanic community. In the Bronx, Mexican-Americans have brought new life to many neighborhoods in the South Bronx. Their contributions cannot be underestimated, and their needs can’t be ignored. We must continue working on a comprehensive immigration reform that provides families with the relief they need and that contributes to our economic prosperity.”
Cinco de Mayo marks the Mexican army’s victory in the Battle of Puebla in 1862, which stopped the French invasion of the country, and is a source of great pride for individuals of Mexican descent. The latest Census estimates indicate that there are now approximately 65,000 people of Mexican descent living in the 15th Congressional District.
In the Bronx
Congressman Serrano Hosts Ceremony to Officially Rename Herman Badillo Post Office
Congressman José E. Serrano joined elected officials from New York to honor the legacy of Herman Badillo by renaming and inaugurating the Herman Badillo Post Office located at 442 East 167th St. in Morrisania. Herman Badillo was the first Puerto Rican Bronx Borough President, Congressman, and Deputy Mayor of New York City. The renaming of the post office would not have been possible without the introduction of H.R.1350, a bill introduced by Congressman Serrano and other members of the New York Congressional delegation, which was approved in July 2015.
Congressman Serrano stated that “Badillo was a friend, to others a mentor, but to all of us he was a legend and a hero we will remember for generations to come. He was not only the first Puerto Rican to hold many elected posts at the local, state, and federal levels, but his work was instrumental in Puerto Ricans’ civic participation in local politics and in bringing attention to issues of concern to the community. Renaming this Post Office, a historic building in the heart of the Bronx, used by thousands every week, is a fitting tribute that will help ensure his legacy and memory live on.”
Congressman Serrano Announces District 15 Congressional Art Competition Winner for 2016
In early May, Congressman Serrano announced the winner from the 15th District of the 2016 Congressional Art competition (The Artistic Discovery Contest) at an award ceremony held at Hostos Community College. Jonathan Surujlall from the Parkchester community, was selected as this year’s winner for his black and white charcoal drawing of "Bob Marley.” Jonathan’s work was selected from art pieces submitted from high schools throughout the 15th District and will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol along with the artworks of other winners from across the nation.
“Every year, I am amazed by all of the talent there is in our district during the Congressional Art Competition. This year was no exception. Congratulations to our first place winner, Jonathan, and to all the students from my district who participated by submitting their artwork’s. Jonathan’s artwork will be exhibited in the Capitol for one year, so make sure to stop by and see it the next time you visit Congress!” said Congressman Serrano.
"A nation-wide high school arts competition sponsored by the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents. The first place winner of the competition in several districts throughout the nation will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol. The Artistic Discovery Contest is an opportunity to recognize and encourage the artistic talent in the nation, as well as within our congressional district. If you would like more information on the annual Congressional District Art Competition - including deadlines - please visit: https://serrano.house.gov/services/art-competition."
Congressman Serrano Helps Inaugurate United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) Security Pavilion
Earlier this month, Congressman Serrano joined Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska of the Southern District of New York, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-7) and GSA Regional Administrator Denise Pease to open and inaugurate the newly constructed security pavilion for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Courthouse.
With the assistance of members of the New York Congressional delegation, led by Congressmen Serrano, Nadler, and King, SDNY secured funding in 2013 to construct the new facility.
“This new state of the art security pavilion for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) will help strengthen security for the court’s occupants and visitors. As the venue of many high-profile and high-risk cases, the pavilion will help ensure that the people who use these facilities every day are safe and secure. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I am incredibly proud of having helped lead the efforts to secure funding for this important and much-needed project,” said Congressman Serrano.
Congressman Serrano Attends 60th Anniversary Parade of Castle Hill Little League
Last Saturday, Congressman Serrano attended the annual parade of teams at the Castle Hill Little League as they celebrated their 60th anniversary. The event was full of energy and excitement as the young kids showed off their uniforms and got ready to play their summer season.
“It brings me so much joy to see kids getting ready to go out there and play baseball during the summer, but even more joy to see the Castle Hill Little League celebrating 60 years of promoting childrens’ healthy development and strengthening our community by creating a space for kids to come together to play baseball,” said Congressman Serrano. “I want to congratulate and thank the Castle Hill Little League for all their hard work and dedication throughout all these years. Their work is a great example of different community organizations and volunteers coming together to share their love for our kids and for a sport that has an important place in our community.
Congressman Serrano Announces Nearly $1 Million in NSF Funding for Advanced Tech Education Program at BCC
Last week, Congressman Serrano announced that Bronx Community College (BCC) has been awarded $899,744 in funding to develop an Associated of Applied Science degree in Chemical and BioEnergy Technology for Sustainability in collaboration with industrial, governmental, and academic partners. The new program’s curriculum will combine the disciplines of biology, chemistry and engineering with the objective of preparing community college students for careers in the growing bio-economy and the areas of green chemistry and fermentation science. The initiative builds upon ongoing projects at BCC, including the Center for Sustainable Energy, which Congressman Serrano helped inaugurate by securing $5 million in federal funding, and the College Now program. Through College Now, high school students will be able to earn college credits to eventually pursue careers in these fields.
“Many of the future jobs in the Bronx will be in the green energy economy, and this grant will prepare more of our students for jobs in this growing field,” said Congressman José E. Serrano. “With this grant and the creation of an Associate of Applied Science degree in Chemical and BioEnergy Technology for Sustainability, we are preparing Bronx youth for good jobs and ensuring that these fields fully reflect the diversity of our nation. This is an important federal investment in the future of Bronx students, and will help improve our local economy.”
The program’s ultimate goal is to prepare students and provide them with employable skills in emerging STEM fields related to clean, renewable energy and chemicals using biomass feedstock platforms. It will also serve as a model in preparing students for STEM careers and developing middle employment skills (i.e. skills in computer technology, nursing, high-skill manufacturing, and other fields).