The Serrano Report - Volume XIV, Issue #10
In Washington, DC
Congressman Serrano Helps Introduce Legislation to Suspend U.S. Funding for the Honduran Security Forces
In the wake of the tragic killing of the Honduran environmental and indigenous leader Berta Cáceres on March 2, 2016, Congressman José E. Serrano served as a lead co-sponsor for legislation to revise U.S. foreign aid to Honduras. The bill—H.R. 5474, the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act—would suspend U.S. funding to the Republic of Honduras for their police and military operations, including funds for equipment and training, until the Honduran government investigates numerous reports indicating the police and military are violating citizens’ human rights.
“A number of reports from credible human rights organizations establish the extent to which the Honduran police and military are engaging in corrupt practices and gross human rights abuses in Honduras,” said Congressman Serrano. “When these abuses occur, Hondurans often do not have access to a strong and fair judicial system. Impunity cannot and will not be tolerated. Cutting U.S. security assistance to Honduras will send a strong message, limit funding for institutions that are broken, and serve as leverage to force the Honduran government to investigate these crimes, tackle corruption, and restore law and order.”
The Bronx is home to the 3rd largest Honduran community in the United States.
Congressman Serrano Adds Amendment to Allow Puerto Rico, Territories and Tribal Communities to Use Funds to Upgrade Wastewater Infrastructure
During the Fiscal Year 2017 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Committee mark-up Congressman Serrano successfully added an amendment that allows territories and tribal communities to use appropriated funds from the Interior Department to plan and design wastewater infrastructure. With this change, territories and tribal communities will be able to use money from Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund for the same types of projects as states. This will help the future of Puerto Rico and the other territories, while at the same time fueling economic growth as in other parts of the nation. Congressman Serrano believes that this is a “common sense” idea that seeks to treat American citizens from those areas as equal as those that reside in states.
Click HERE to view a video of Congressman Serrano's remarks on the amendment.
Congressman Serrano on First Meeting of Zika Appropriations Conference Meeting
On Wednesday last week, Congressman Serrano took part in the first meeting of the conference meeting on Zika funding. House Democrats issued the following joint statement after the committee’s meeting:
“Sixteen weeks ago, President Obama requested urgent, emergency investments to protect American communities from the Zika virus.
“Since then, about 2,000 cases of Zika have been diagnosed in the U.S. states and territories, including 372 pregnant women. Just in the two weeks between May 25 and June 8, nearly 100 pregnant women were infected with this devastating virus that is a known cause of microcephaly and other neurological disorders in developing babies.
“As the virus has spread and its known effects have grown more severe, the House majority delayed and deflected, and finally got around to providing less than one-third of the President’s request. Even that paltry amount was offset with dangerous cuts to critical investments in Ebola and domestic public health preparedness.
“The responsible path forward for this conference committee is to provide full funding of the President’s emergency request, including $1.1 billion in new Zika funds; $560 to restore Ebola funding and state public health funding that was been diverted to Zika; and $250 million in direct public health assistance to Puerto Rico – the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States – to deal with the impact of Zika.
“If we do not act quickly and forcefully to respond to the threat of Zika now, we will face its costs for years to come.”
Congressman Serrano Applauds Release of FTC Report to Combat Fraud in Minority Communities
Congressman José E. Serrano applauded the release of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) comprehensive plan to combat fraud in African-American and Latino communities last week. Serrano inserted language in the report accompanying the fiscal year 2016 Financial Services Appropriations bill requiring the FTC to develop the plan.
“I thank the FTC for developing this comprehensive strategy to address fraud in minority communities,” said Congressman Serrano. “I asked for this report in last year’s appropriations bill because numerous studies show that minority communities, particularly African-American and Latino communities, experience fraud at much higher rates than the population as a whole. From auto loans, to debt related scams, to immigration related fraud, minority communities are disproportionately targeted by bad actors. This report is an effort to look at the commonalities across all of these diverse areas of fraud, and to develop policies that help our communities detect, report, and stop fraud efforts. This is an important step forward by the FTC, and I look forward to working with them to ensure this plan can be fully implemented.”
The report, available here, develops a comprehensive strategy to address fraud affecting minority communities, including expanded efforts to improve awareness and reporting of fraud, increased law enforcement against fraud efforts focused on minority communities, and enhanced outreach to African-American and Latino communities.
In the Bronx
Congressman Serrano Attends 100th Anniversary of Teamsters Local 202
Congressman Serrano attended the 100th anniversary celebration of the Teamsters Local 202 this past Saturday in the Bronx. Teamsters Local 202 represents more than 4,000 workers in New York, including those from the Hunts Points Market, which is the Bronx’s largest employer. TheCongressman stated that “it was a pleasure to see how big the Teamsters Local 202 union has grown over the course of 100 years. You have helped ensure good jobs and labor protections for many Bronx families, and I look forward to your good work in the years to come.”