The Serrano Report - Volume XVI, Issue #13
In Washington, DC
Serrano, Ros-Lehtinen Introduce Bill To Create National Smithsonian American Latino Museum
Congressman Serrano, along with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced on Thursday HR 2911, legislation to establish a National Smithsonian American Latino Museum honoring the contributions of Latinos to our country. Through bipartisan efforts in the House and Senate, this bill will initiate the process to identify a location and funding to make this museum a reality.
“Latinos deserve a place in Washington that honors all their sacrifices and contributions to this nation since its founding. With this legislation we are one step closer to making the American Latino museum a reality by identifying potential sites and an appropriate funding mechanism. I am proud to work with Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, Senator Menendez, and Senator Cornyn on this bipartisan effort to honor Latinos’ diverse contributions to the American story,” said Congressman Serrano.
Congressman Serrano on Puerto Rico’s Plebiscite Results
Washington, DC – Congressman José E. Serrano released the following statement on the plebiscite carried out on June 11 in Puerto Rico:
“The results of the plebiscite held just a few days ago in Puerto Rico, combined with those of the 2012 referendum where voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of ending Puerto Rico’s territorial status, show that a vast majority of the population wants change. While there was a lower voter turnout in this referendum when compared to past elections and referenda on the island, let’s be clear, voter turnout was in part lower because of an unnecessary and cynical boycott. Now Puerto Rico needs to come before Congress to ask for a change in status. In democracies, the will of the voters is respected, and Congress has a duty to listen and act upon these results so that Puerto Rico can be decolonized once and for all. As I have said in the past, after hundreds of years as a territory, the United States owes the island and its millions of American citizens that much.”
Ranking Member Serrano Chairs CJS Hearings on Commerce Department, National Science Foundation, and NASA FY2018 Budget Request
Congressman Serrano, Ranking Democrat of the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee chaired four hearings on funding for departments that fall under the subcommittee’s jurisdiction: the Department of Commerce, the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the Department of Justice.
At the hearings, Congressman Serrano emphasized the importance of allocating robust levels of funding for these four departments and programs to ensure they continue to assist in job creation, the protection of civil rights, competitiveness, innovation, and scientific discovery as Congress appropriates funding for its operations for Fiscal Year 2018. The Congressman particularly emphasized the importance of funding programs related to the 2020 Census within the Department of Commerce, and climate change also within the Department of Commerce as well as at the National Science Foundation.
Serrano Joins Reps. Ellison, Payne, Clarke Introduce West African Ebola Relief Act
Two weeks ago, Congressman Serrano joined Congressmen Ellison (D-MN), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), and Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY) to introduce the West African Ebola Relief Act (H.R. 2597). The bill would extend Temporary Protected Status to individuals from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, who had their status terminated this weekend.
Last month, forty-five Members of Congress including the members who introduced this bill wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, urging him to redesignate and extend Temporary Protected Status for Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea for eighteen months. This bill legislates the same request.
“Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone are still rebuilding after the recent Ebola crisis. An extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is necessary to allow nationals from these three nations to remain safe in the United States and to allow the countries affected by the crisis to rebuild their health care infrastructure and economies. I am disappointed that the Department of Homeland Security failed to act on this pressing issue, but I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the West African Ebola Relief Act, which would mandate the extension of TPS to these countries immediately,” said Rep. Serrano.
Congressman Serrano Introduces IGNITE Act to Facilitate Start-Ups’ Access to Capital
Congressman Serrano recently introduced the Incentivize Growth Now In Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs (IGNITE) Act, legislation to facilitate access to credit for entrepreneurs launching small businesses of less than 50 employees. The IGNITE act would allow potential entrepreneurs, who often have to rely on credit cards and other risky credit tools, to set aside up to $10,000 (or the amount of compensation includible in the taxpayer's gross income for the taxable year) in tax free savings accounts for start-up expenses. This will allow them to launch their business—which is in itself a risky endeavor—without having to resort to extreme debt. This will serve as an incentive for people to launch their businesses and thereby increase the likelihood of success for start-ups.
“Small businesses are the back-bone of the U.S. economy. In the Bronx, they serve as the path to greater economic and professional opportunities for many of my constituents and create thousands of jobs. Unfortunately, too often people refrain from launching their own business for fear of the economic risk it entails and/or lack of access to capital. We need to provide entrepreneurs with the tools and incentives they need to launch and grow their business. The IGNITE Act will help entrepreneurs in the Bronx, New York, and all across America to launch and grow their businesses successfully, and improve our local and national economy by creating new jobs,” said Congressman Serrano.
Most businesses in the Bronx would qualify for this tax credit- according to statistics, more than 80 percent of businesses in the Bronx have less than 10 employees.
Congressman Serrano Reintroduces the Child Citizen Protection Act
Congressman José E. Serrano also reintroduced the "Child Citizen Protection Act,” legislation that restores discretion to immigration judges in cases where the best interest and well-being of a child that is a United States citizen will be impacted by the deportation of their immigrant parents or other family relatives. This legislation will help protect children, who are particularly vulnerable, from unwarranted and damaging separation from their parents or caregivers.
“Citizen children should not have to suffer the impact of a federal immigration system that is flawed and too rigid. Currently, the law does not allow judges presiding over immigration cases to use their discretion in deportation and removal cases where a child's well-being will be adversely impacted. A judge often has no choice but to order permanent removal of undocumented parents from the United States.
"The impact of these decisions are severe- forcing citizen children to end up in de facto deportation in order to remain with their parents, or requiring them to find another responsible caregiver in the United States to help take care of them. Than can sometimes include through the foster care system.
"That is wrong. These are children who are U.S. citizens and we have a responsibility to act in their best interest. This legislation would change this rule and trust judges' capacity to make the right decision, allowing them to use their judgement in this type of immigration cases. Despite the current political climate, I am hopeful that at least some of my colleagues across the aisle will join me in supporting this common sense fix, which only helps protect children from undue and potentially life-changing stress and hardship,” said Congressman Serrano.
Congressman Serrano Meets with the Opportunity Finance Network
Congressman Serrano met with representatives from the Opportunity Finance Network to discuss the importance of investing in Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs).
The CDFI Program invests in credit unions, banks, loan funds, and other financial institutions that operate or invest in underserved communities that don’t have access to affordable financial products and services. It is a vital resource that draws in additional private money and investment to underserved communities. Statistics show that for every dollar of federal funding through the CDFI program, awardees can leverage $13 in private investment. As the Senior Democrat on the subcommittee funding the CDFI program, he more than quadrupled funding for the program in the past several years.
Congressman Serrano Opposes Measures Proposed that Take Away Labor Protections in Puerto Rico
Also last month, Congressman Serrano released the following statement in strong opposition to proposed legislative measures in Puerto Rico that would undermine workers’ rights:
“Puerto Rico's fiscal crisis should not be used as an excuse to take away worker's rights. Unfortunately, local legislative measures being proposed in Puerto Rico - including one that ends dues deductions for public sector workers - threaten to weaken long held union protections in order to solve a problem that does not exist. Taking away workers’ rights to support the implementation of austerity measures is not the way to develop the island's economy to get out of the crisis. These changes will greatly hurt unions’ ability to organize, protect workers, and collectively bargain. Unions were not the cause of the island's crisis, and they should not be used as a scapegoat,”
In the Bronx
Congressman Serrano Attends Sharon Baptist Head Start
Congressman Serrano visited Sharon Baptist Head Start, where he spent time with children, parents and staff at the Center.
“Thank you Sharon Baptist for such a wonderful welcome. I appreciate it! It’s always wonderful to see firsthand the positive impact that this important program is having in our community and to meet the families that benefit from it.
Congressman Serrano Visits St. Simon Stock
Congressman Serrano also visited St. Simon Stock School on May 15th to tour its facilities and talk to children about his path to congress:
“Our children must know that everything they dream of, even becoming a member of Congress, is possible. But a solid foundation in a quality elementary education is crucial. Visiting my district’s schools and talking first hand with its administrators and students serves as an opportunity to learn about the state of our schools and gain a better sense of their needs,” said Serrano.
Congressman Serrano Honors UPS Drivers with Excellent Safety Records
That same week, Congressman Serrano honored UPS drivers from the Bronx with excellent safety records with Congressional Certificates of recognition: