Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

The Serrano Report - Volume XVI, Issue #21

Oct 10, 2017
The Serrano Report

In Washington, DC

Congressman Serrano Leads Letter on Need for Comprehensive Emergency Supplemental for Puerto Rico

This week, Congressman José E. Serrano led a letter with 7 of his colleagues in support of a comprehensive relief and recovery effort by the federal government to help Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Texas, and Florida.  The letter includes a number of important programs that must be funded in both the near and long term:

"The scale of devastation in Puerto Rico requires a comprehensive response that we have not seen to date," said Congressman José E. Serrano. "The President has sent another supplemental request to Congress - but just asking for funding for FEMA and flood insurance is not enough.  Much more must be done in the near and long-term.  This letter lays out the major Departments, agencies, and programs used to help parts of the United States recover from previous disasters, and identifies areas that may need special support beyond what has previously been contemplated."

The Hurricane Sandy disaster supplemental included some $50.5 billion in funding for efforts at 13 different cabinet level departments and agencies as well as 5 independent agencies through 69 different accounts.  Given the scale of the disaster in the Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the total amount of damage is likely to be significantly greater than in Sandy.

"As a longtime member of the Appropriations Committee, I have supported our efforts to provide large-scale assistance in response to previous disasters," said Serrano.  "We need to match that level of effort- and if the President isn't willing to commit to that proposition, then Congress will need to act independently.  This letter provides a roadmap for that work."

Click here to read the full letter:

Congressman Serrano Urges Policy Changes on Gun Regulation

After the tragic shooting in Las Vegas last week, Congressman Serrano sent his condolences to the victims and their families and urged for support in Congress of common sense gun safety measures:  

“My heart goes out to all of the victims of the tragedy in Las Vegas, the deadliest shooting in US History – more than 50 people lost their lives and at least 400 people were injured in this tragedy. Mass shootings are becoming all too common- and we need to ask ourselves some serious questions about gun violence in our nation. We need a thoughtful conversation on common-sense solutions to prevent tragic events like this one- including limitations on the types of guns that individuals can purchase. Moments of silence will not help prevent this from happening and I urge my colleagues on both aisles to address this issue in an urgent manner.” said Congressman Serrano.

“As a Vice Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, I am please to have signed on to a letter led by Representative Mike Thompson urging the ATF to take action to prohibit 'Bump Stocks,'the accessory that allowed the Las Vegas shooter to use his semi-automatic weapons as fully automatic weapons. I also cosponsored Rep. David Cicilline’s bill to ban bump stocks entirely.  These are both important steps we can take. The time for action is now," he added. 

Congressman Serrano talking to the press on why we need policy change to stop gun violence. (10/3/2017)

Congressman Serrano Meets with Leader Pelosi and Federal Agencies to Discuss Disaster Relief Progress

This past Tuesday Congressman Serrano attended a meeting convened by Leader Pelosi with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Small Business Administration, and other Democratic members of Congress to discuss the progress of the Puerto Rico disaster relief efforts. Congressman Serrano has been a vocal advocate for more federal relief and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. 

Congressman Serrano Announces Nearly $1 Million in Funds For Bronx Community Development Institution

Also last week, Congressman Serrano announced nearly $1 million in funds for the Spring Bank in the Bronx, a CDFI that supports local entrepreneurs and support local economic growth:

“I am proud to announce that Spring Bank in the Bronx has once again been awarded nearly $1 million in additional funding in FY 2017, part of which they are receiving once again in recognition of their fine work. These resources will allow them to continue serving and expanding their financing activities for individuals, small businesses, and other organizations in the Bronx," said Congressman Serrano. "Investing in our entrepreneurs and other local organizations allows them to prosper and to spur local economic growth. This is why the CDFI Fund is crucial for places like the Bronx, and why I have worked so hard over the years to quadruple funding for this program in the appropriations process.”

The CDFI Program invests in credit unions, banks, loan funds, and other financial institutions operating in underserved communities that do not 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. 

CDFIs help bridge the financial services gap in underserved communities like the Bronx, helping ensure that local businesses and non-profits have the ability to expand and that individuals have access to mainstream financial services. This financial support has helped create and expand some of the community's most important priorities- including affordable housing, health care services, and small businesses.