Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

The Serrano Report - Volume XVI, Issue #31

Mar 9, 2018
The Serrano Report

In Washington, DC

Congressman Serrano Introduces Hardest Hit Act with Rep. Clarke and Rep. Meeks to Address Public Housing Crisis

Congressman Serrano, Representatives Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) and Gregory W. Meeks (NY-05), introduced legislation to provide public housing, foreclosure mitigation, and rental assistance grants through the United States Housing and Urban Development agency (HUD) with supplemental funding for state public housing authorities to ensure Americans have access to affordable housing.

The Hardest Hit Housing Act of 2018 will allocate $4 billion a year in supplemental funding to the Public Housing Capital Fund Grant Program for public housing authorities that own or manage more than 10,000 units. It will also supply foreclosure mitigation and assistance grants to the 15 states with the highest foreclosure rates. Additionally, the bill will authorize rental assistance grants to fund 100,000 incremental housing choice vouchers for housing authorities at a rate of 20,000 units per year over five years.

Earlier this month, President Trump unveiled a budget proposal that guts federal programs that provide low-income families housing stability by eliminating two block grant programs in their entirety. Trump’s proposal also cuts the Public Housing Capital Fund, a $2 billion annual fund used to renovate or maintain the condition of public housing units. These proposed cuts would be detrimental to the livelihood of many residents of the Bronx who rely on public housing. This bill would not only help Bronxites and fellow New Yorkers, it would be beneficial to beneficiaries of public housing throughout the country.

“Congress has a responsibility to protect and allocate adequate levels of funding for the government’s housing programs to ensure that everyone, regardless of income, can live in safe, affordable housing. The Hardest Hit Housing Act will protect the public housing programs that our communities desperately need from this Administration’s reckless attempts to gut our governments’ most important social safety net programs.  We need to address our nation’s housing crisis, and fight back against Donald Trump’s efforts to undermine these important programs. This legislation is an important step in doing just that.” Said Serrano. 

Serrano Meets with Medical Students from the Bronx in Washington, D.C.

This week Congressman Serrano met with medical students from the American Osteopathic Association to discuss the growth in the osteopathic profession and the importance of training the next generation of physicians, the Higher Education Act, and additional ways for the AOA and Congress to work together to improve the nation’s health care system.

Serrano Meets with the Boys and Girls Club of America

Congressman Serrano met with the Boys and Girls Club of America to discuss 21stCentury Community Learning Centers and youth mentoring programs. Serrano has been a longtime advocate for adequate funding to 21st Century Community Learning Centers which support after school and summer programs for American youth throughout the country. 

Serrano Joins Democratic Colleagues to Introduce Assault Weapons Ban

Last week, Congressman Serrano joined Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), and more than 170 other House Democrats to introduce legislation to ban assault weapons and take dangerous weapons of war off Americans streets. Congressman Serrano is an original co-sponsor of the bill.

Assault weapons have become the weapon of choice for mass shooters. They were used in the recent attacks on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida and the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas, as well as the mass murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. and a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado.

“There is no need for a civilian to own a military grade weapon. We cannot allow mass shootings at our schools and recreational public spaces to become the new normal. In the wake of yet another horrific tragedy, Congress has a moral duty to take action. This bill is a step in the right direction, and I hope that our Republican allies on this issue will join us in supporting this common sense bill to keep our communities and our kids safe.” said Congressman Serrano. “In 1994, I was proud to vote in favor of the original assault weapons ban- it made our communities and schools safer.  It is long past time to reinstate the ban.” Said Congressman Serrano.

Congressman Serrano Slams President Trump’s Budget Proposal for FY2019

Congressman Serrano, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee and Ranking Member of the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Subcommittee slammed President Trump’s budget proposal for FY2019, which would significantly cut funding for a wide range of services that many Bronx residents rely on.

“The Trump Administration released a budget proposal based on the same misguided proposals and empty promises of the past: to “drain the swamp” by cutting spending on key programs while proposing to primarily increase defense spending to unnecessary levels, and to build a wall along the southern border that won’t fix our broken immigration system at a cost of $25 billion.  These damaging ideas- if enacted into law- will hurt America’s competitiveness and its standing in the world.

“As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, it is very concerning to see this Administration propose further cuts to the government’s most important economic and social programs, which are crucial to people from the Bronx. The proposal would cut $263 billion from direct spending social safety net programs, primarily centered around a $214 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Last year alone, SNAP helped protect 44 million senior citizens, children and disabled people from hunger and starvation. It would also hurt Social Security by cutting $72 billion from disability programs. For some of these programs, like Medicaid and food stamps, the Administration is proposing new roadblocks on individuals’ ability to qualify for and access them in addition to the proposed budget cuts. Millions would also lose access to health care through the budget’s attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act once again and changes to Medicare payment policies. These cuts and policy changes will only make it harder for the average American, particularly the most vulnerable, to get by. For many of them, being able to access these programs and services is a matter of life or death.

“President Trump’s proposal for FY2019 also ransacks a number of programs that are key to America’s competitiveness and global standing. The blueprint proposes gradual cuts to non-defense discretionary spending after 2019 ($338 billion by 2028) that would essentially gut key programs for education, innovation, job creation, and the revitalization of local communities. It also fails to invest enough in our infrastructure; the $200 billion infrastructure investment the document highlights would come primarily from the private sector and local governments. In the area of foreign affairs, the Administration is proposing more cuts to the State Department and the elimination of the food aid program, further jeopardizing key diplomatic staff and diplomatic efforts abroad at a time of instability around the world.

“As the Ranking Democrat on the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, it is disheartening to see some of the most crucial programs for economic development, scientific innovation, environmental protection, and civil rights attacked once again. Among the programs proposed for elimination under the Department of Commerce are the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, the Economic Development Administration program, Coastal Zone Management Grants, the National Sea Grant Program, and the NOAA Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions.  Among those sharply reduced are the Minority Business Development Agency, the International Trade Administration export assistance, and NOAA Climate Research. DOJ grants are effectively cut by over $347 million, including a cut of 55 percent ($122.5 million) to the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, which provides grants to state and local government for hiring law enforcement officers.  The Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service and the Legal Services Corporation, which so many people depend on to get legal assistance, is eliminated. Finally, the Trump budget unwisely seeks to turn over the International Space Station to commercial entities after the American people have invested over $100 billion in this program.

“The President’s budget guts key government programs for working families, including the very people he claims to champion, after giving the most generous tax cuts to the top one percent under the Republican tax reform approved last year. This is just the most recent example of this Administration’s values and whose side it’s really on. Once again Democrats will fight to prevent these draconian cuts from going through and advance proposals that invest in our communities, businesses, and families.” Said Congressman Serrano.

Congressman Serrano Welcomes Small Business Owners from District

Last month, Congressman Serrano welcomed small business owners from his district that recently finished Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses Program. The program helps entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing access to education, capital and business support services. 

“It was great meeting so many Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses Program graduates from my district in The Bronx. They exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit that make our borough great. The challenges entrepeneurs and small business owners face need to be addressed in order to secure the prosperity that our nation desires, and they have my full support,” said Congressman Serrano.

Congressman Serrano Celebrates Dominican Heritage Month with Congressman Espaillat

Last month, Congressman Serrano attended Congressman Espaillat’s Dominican Heritage Month Celebration on Capitol Hill. The event honored distinguished Dominicans from New York City. 

“The Dominican community in New York City has significantly increased over the past few years, becoming an integral part of our community. I was honored to be part of this event to celebrate their achievements and contributions,” said Congressman Serrano.

Congressman Serrano Meets with UAW to Discuss the Puerto Rico Disaster Relief

Also last month, Congressman Serrano met with members of The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, better known as the United Automobile Workers (UAW) to discuss the challenges that Puerto Rico still faces after Hurricane Maria. Congressman Serrano has and will continue to advocate for the necessary federal aid needed to rebuild Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Congressman Serrano Fights For Net Neutrality with National Hispanic Media Coalition

Two weeks ago, Congressman Serrano welcomed the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) to accept their “Valentine” request to continue fighting for net neutrality. 

“I will proudly continue to support the net neutrality Congressional Review Act (CRA). The internet belongs to all of us, let's keep it that way!” Said Congressman Serrano.

In the Bronx

Congressman Serrano Opposes City’s Plans to Open Jail in the South Bronx

Congressman Serrano has opposed Mayor’s de Blasio’s decision to build one of the four jails that would replace Rikers in the South Bronx, a decision made without community or Bronx elected officials input.

“Criminal justice reform is badly needed in New York and nationally- and I will always support efforts to ensure our justice system is fairer and more equitable. As part of that, I strongly support the effort to close Rikers’, but that process cannot take place at the expense of community input and participation in the siting of such a facility. Far too often, the South Bronx is used to deal with negative problems that other areas of New York City do not want to deal with. Waste transfer stations, sewage treatment plants, industrial/commercial facilities that generate increased truck traffic- all seem to be located in the South Bronx disproportionately when compared to the rest of the City. Once again it appears the South Bronx has been selected to bear an unnecessary burden on behalf of the City.

This ‘process’ already seems to be fundamentally flawed. There should be equity and fairness in the jail placement process- and that means looking throughout our borough- not just in the South Bronx; taking into consideration the number of jails already in an area; and at the very least, taking into consideration a community’s needs and concerns in an inclusive manner. I urge the City to reconsider its decision and reopen this process in the Bronx and elsewhere if need be.” Said Congressman Serrano 

Congressman Serrano and NYS Senator José M. Serrano Host Annual Black History Month Celebration

 Congressman José E. Serrano and New York State Senator José M. Serrano hosted their annual Black History Month Celebration in the Bronx with local community groups, advocates, and local elected officials. It was held at Hostos Community College, the event honored five individuals who have been advocates and community leaders in the Bronx and New York City: Marricka Scott-McFadden, Deputy Bronx Borough President; Hon. Latoya Joyner, Assembly Member for the 77th NYS Assembly District; Linda Kemp, Founder of Bringing the Peace and Building the Community; Kathleen Saunders, Bronx Community Board 4 Chair. The Honorable Aurelia Greene, Former Bronx Deputy Borough President & NYS Assembly Member (Speaker Pro- Tempore) was also presented with the U.S. Congressional and NYS Senate Life Time Achievement Award this year.

“Every year, we have the privilege of honoring some of the many African-American community leaders working to expand access to opportunity and improve quality of life in the Bronx at the annual Serrano Black History Month Celebration. With so many social programs under threat of being cut or eliminated under the Trump Administration, their work is more important than ever. This special event also serves as an opportunity to celebrate African-American heritage and contributions to American culture through special performances and events. We look forward to many more,” said Congressman Serrano and his son New York State Senator José M. Serrano.

New York State Senator Jose M. Serrano & Congressman José E. Serrano with Honorees (Left to Right): Honorable Aurelia Greene, Linda Kemp, Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner, & Kathleen Saunders (Not in Photo- Deputy Bronx Borough President Marricka Scott-McFadden) 
Congressman José E. Serrano with student performers and their instructors from East Fordham Academy of the Arts.