Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

The Serrano Report - Volume XVI, Issue #15

Jun 30, 2017
The Serrano Report

In Washington, DC

Ranking Member Serrano Leads Democratic Opposition at CJS Markup Hearing

Yesterday, Congressman Serrano—who is Ranking Member of the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee—led Democratic members of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee in the markup of the subcommittee bill for FY 2018. At the markup, Congressman Serrano applauded some of the key investments the bill successfully makes, while expressing serious concerns about inadequate funding for important agencies and programs such as the Justice Department, NASA, NSF, the Legal Services Corporation, climate change research, and the Census Bureau. Congressman Serrano also criticized the fact that the proposal allows several misguided immigration proposals to go forward:

“I am concerned that several other programs and agencies are inadequately funded in this bill.

“The Legal Services Corporation is cut by $85 million dollars from FY 2017.  As a strong supporter of LSC, I think this is very unwise.  LSC grants help local providers assist veterans, domestic violence victims, the elderly and many others to assert their rights.  The LSC plays a crucial role in ensuring that our legal and constitutional rights are available to all Americans- not just those who can afford it.  I hope we can work together to increase this amount.

“Programs that conduct crucial climate change research are also shortchanged in this bill.  There is a 19 percent cut to NOAA climate research, and NASA’s Earth Science program is cut by $217 million below last year, and $50 million less than what the Trump Administration requested.  The result is that we will jeopardize our ability to improve our scientific understanding of our planet and its changes.  This will undermine our ability to protect the health and safety of our communities.

“The Justice Department is underfunded in a number of critical areas.  The bill largely eliminates COPS Hiring grants.  It is deeply troubling that this effective program, which supports important police reform and public safety initiatives, is being tossed aside.  I am also troubled by the proposed elimination of two crucial juvenile justice grant programs, the State Formula Grants and the Delinquency Prevention Incentive Grants.  These grant eliminations, among others, will harm efforts to reduce crime, promote police-community relations, and prevent recidivism.

“The Census Bureau is also inadequately funded.  Although the Periodic Censuses and Programs account is given the requested amount in FY 2018, the Trump Administration shortchanged the important planning and testing tools that are needed now to prevent higher costs in the future.  Without this crucial testing now, the initial response rates will drop and costs will rise.  The Trump budget in this area is penny-wise and pound foolish, and I think we need to do more to correct this mistake.

“President Trump also proposed ending Federal support for Economic Development Administration programs and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program.  While the chairman’s mark does not copy that proposal, it still contains huge cuts to both of these programs.  These programs help create and retain tens of thousands of American jobs every year.

“Lastly, I am also troubled that this proposal allows several of the Administration’s immigration enforcement priorities to go forward, including new attorneys for eminent domain proceedings along the border, and additional attorneys for criminal immigration prosecution efforts.  At best, this is an unwise choice. Fifty-two percent of criminal prosecutions at DOJ are already immigration related- there is a practical limit to how much we can do before we intrude upon the other important missions of the Department.”

Serrano Votes Against Anti-Immigrant Bills

Yesterday, Congressman Serrano voted against two anti-immigrant bills: H.R. 3003, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, and H.R. 3004, Kate’s Law, and released the following statement:

“These bills are just two more pieces of President Trump’s anti-immigrant mass deportation agenda.  The reality is that these bills, if they become law, will actually undermine local law enforcement and our national security. By requiring cities and states to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement activities or otherwise lose federal funding for important law enforcement and homeland security programs, H.R. 3003 coerces local authorities to become an immigration enforcement arm of the federal government.  That bill also greatly expands the federal government’s capacity to detain immigrants indefinitely during removal proceedings.  H.R. 3004 would broadly attempt to further criminalize and stigmatize all undocumented immigrants, even allowing for the prosecution of someone who is seeking asylum.  By expanding federal authorities reach and prohibiting policies to build trust, local immigrant residents will be less likely to cooperate with the authorities, making our communities less safe. These bills demonize immigrants and undermine public safety.  That is why I opposed them in the House, and ask that my colleagues in the Senate do the same.”

In the Bronx

Serrano Announces Federal Funding for Bronx Health Centers

On Monday, Congressman José E. Serrano (D-The Bronx) announced a total of $11,547,456 grant funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Center Program to several health centers in the South Bronx. Union Community Health Center received $1,055,094; Tremont Commonwealth Council Vip Inc. received $704,000; Morris Heights Health Center received $6,762,957; Urban Health Plan received $1,209,017; and Bronx Community Health Network received $1,416,388.

“Health Centers are an integral part of our health care delivery system in the Bronx and help meet the growing demand for primary care,” said Congressman Serrano. “These five grantees have a history of providing excellent care to the most vulnerable patients in our community. Today’s funding announcement will allow them to continue providing the vital services that so many families and individuals rely upon to stay healthy and happy.”

The Health Center Program provides critical funding for community-based health clinics that provide a full range of integrated care services- from medical and dental care to case management and transportation services- for low-income individuals, regardless of their ability to pay. More than 24 million Americans across the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the territories rely on health centers for their care.