Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

The Serrano Report - Volume XVI, Issue #43

Feb 13, 2019
The Serrano Report

In Washington, D.C. 

Congressman Serrano Joins Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as an Original Cosponsor of the Green New Deal

Congressman Serrano was one of the first Members of Congress to support the Green New Deal and last week attended a press conference to announce the formal introduction of the Green New Deal Resolution on the House and Senate side. 

"I am proud to join Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Senator Markey & other colleagues to introduce the Green New Deal resolution to lay down the foundation for a greener and prosperous future for all. I am also proud to be joined by the entire Bronx delegation in the introduction of this resolution," said Congressman Serrano.

Serrano Introduces Legislation to Require Public Inspectors’ Evaluation of Local Transportation Projects

Last week, Congressman Serrano introduced legislation to guarantee that local transportation projects are evaluated by public inspectors rather than private companies. The Safety, Efficiency, and Accountability in Transportation Projects Through Public Inspection Act of 2019 would require public employees who are members of the community to perform inspections and other related essential public functions on all state and local transportation projects. The bill is intended to promote public safety, prevent the waste of transportation funds, and guarantee that projects are delivered in a timely manner. This legislation seeks to ensure that the public has someone who is working on their behalf, rather than companies who are more concerned about their bottom line. The bill is being cosponsored by Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Congressman André Carson, and Congressman Stephen Lynch.

“This legislation is necessary to ensure the public’s safety in the construction of local transportation projects.  Community residents and the public, in general, need a representative to make sure that private transportation construction contractors are acting in a safe, responsible manner.  Using private companies to oversee the work of other private companies creates potential conflicts of interest that undermine worker and public safety, increase costs, and delay project completion.  This bill prevents these problems by requiring a government employee to oversee all state and local transportation projects to ensure safety and accountability,” said Congressman Serrano.

To read the text of the bill click here

Congressman Serrano Welcomes Dominicans to Dominicans on the Hill Day

Congressman Serrano spoke to over 500 members of the Dominican community at the first ever Dominicans on the Hill Day, sponsored by Congressman Espaillat. The event was a celebration of the Domincan community's accomplishments and their vision for the future. 

Reps. Serrano, Grijalva and Beyer Lead Members of Congress in Demanding U.S. Neutrality in El Salvador’s Elections

Reps. Serrano, Grijalva and Beyer led a letter with 36 other Members of Congress to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging him to reaffirm the United States commitment to democracy in El Salvador and respect the results of the 2019 presidential election set for February 3. Their letter read in part:

“In recent months, we have noted with alarm the tendency of the President, of White House staff, and of several of our fellow Members of Congress to publicize statements implying that they would unilaterally cut aid to El Salvador in response to a variety of policy decisions made by the Salvadoran government. With presidential campaigns in full swing, we are concerned that these or any such threats give Salvadoran voters a false impression that the future of our binational relations is in jeopardy and therefore impede upon their ability to freely elect a government of their choosing.

“Therefore, we encourage that the State Department join us in honoring and respecting the will of the Salvadoran people when they go to the polls on February 3 to elect the next President of El Salvador. We seek your assurance that State Department officials will refrain from positioning themselves in any sort of partisan manner or making any statements to influence the decision of Salvadoran voters ahead of the elections. The State Department’s position with regard to the outcome of the 2019 presidential election should be guided solely by evaluations that the process was free and fair and in compliance with El Salvador’s laws, not by the political preferences of any U.S. official.

“We believe strongly that U.S. policy towards Central America will continue to have major repercussions – negative or positive – on the future of the region. The upcoming elections in El Salvador are an important opportunity for the United States to demonstrate its commitment to a strong democratic future for Central America. We anticipate your assurance and look forward to opportunities to collaborate with the Administration in the months ahead.”

Read the full letter here.

Congressman Serrano Meets with Puerto Rican Mayors to Discuss Recovery Efforts

Rep. Serrano joined Majority Leader Hoyer, Rep. Soto, and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and a group of Puerto Rican Mayors to discuss recovery efforts on the island post-Hurricane Maria. As a Member of the Appropriations Committee, Congressman Serrano has been fighting to make sure Puerto Rico has the funding it needs to recover, with an emphasis on resilient infrastructure ready to withstand future natural disasters.

Congressman Serrano on Temporary Reopening of Federal Government

Congressman Serrano released the following statement in response to President Trump and Republicans’ agreement to temporarily reopen the federal government after the longest shutdown in American history:

“For more than a month, hundreds of thousands of innocent, hard-working Americans and their families have suffered the effects of Republicans’ irresponsible use of a government shutdown as leverage to build a wall that most Americans don’t want, and that won’t fix our broken immigration system. I’m glad to see them finally come to their senses. As Democrats in Congress have insisted on from day one, this is no way to negotiate. The American people can’t be used as hostages to satisfy President Trump’s whims for an unnecessary border wall. We can strengthen our borders without putting American families and our safety at risk. Furthermore, a wall won’t address many of the problems President Trump has outlined as reasons for allocating billions of dollars in government funding to build a wall. Now that we’ve finally found a way to reopen the government, I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Appropriations committee to fix the damage this shutdown has caused on some of our most important government agencies, their operations, and their employees,” said Congressman Serrano. 

Congressman Serrano has been fighting against the Trump shutdown since day one, here are his remarks on the House Floor last week regarding the shutdown:


Congressman Serrano Leads Letter Condemning Most Recent Efforts by Trump Administration to Undermine Puerto Rico Recovery Efforts

Congressman Serrano led a letter with 56 Democratic colleagues to condemn President Trump’s constant attacks and undermining of recovery efforts in Puerto Rico post-Hurricane Maria. The joint effort comes two weeks after it became public that President Trump was considering diverting U.S. Army Corps of Engineers funding appropriated by Congress for disaster recovery efforts in Puerto Rico in order to build the wall along the Southern border.  More recent news reports revealed President Trump’s efforts to prevent disaster relief funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from being distributed to the government of Puerto Rico. The latest action from the Trump Administration to undermine recovery in Puerto Rico was its blatant and unreasonable objections to the inclusion of $600 million in funding for the Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) in Puerto Rico and to the waiver of FEMA Categories A and B local cost share requirements in the Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) for the Emergency Supplemental (H.R. 268).

“[The] pattern of continued pattern of ignorance and insults must end.  Puerto Rico’s recovery is ongoing, and the needs of the American citizens living on the island remain high.  Damage estimates continue to dwarf the size of federal assistance, and threatening to take away what Congress has already appropriated is both counterproductive and harmful.  The Governor of Puerto Rico asked for exactly the type of assistance provided in H.R. 268.  NAP funding in Puerto Rico is scheduled to run out in March 2019, leaving more than 1.3 million Puerto Ricans with inadequate food assistance.  Moreover, Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis makes it difficult to provide local cost-shares for FEMA projects- necessitating a choice between extending local cost-share waivers and grinding the recovery to a halt.  Lastly, flexible HUD funding is a mainstay of any recovery effort- reducing that funding would be disastrous for the island and its residents,” wrote the members.

The list of co-signers is below, to view the full text of the letter click here.

Co-Signers (56): Neal, Pallone, McGovern, Velázquez, Engel, Schiff, Clark, DeGette, SP Maloney, S. Bishop, S. Davis, Cárdenas, Higgins, Moore, Hastings, Napolitano, Wasserman Schultz, B. Lee, Espaillat, Raskin, Vela, Roybal-Allard, Kaptur, Castor, Himes, Soto, Clarke, C. Maloney, Crist, Morelle, Sires, Deutch, Blumenauer, Tlaib, Lipinski, Vargas, H. Johnson, Watson Coleman, Garcia (IL), Boyle, Schakowsky, McNerney, McCollum, Meng, Carbajal, Omar, Sablan, Correa, Garamendi, Lofgren, Escobar, Cicilline, Murcasel-Powell, Levin, Jayapal, Girjalva.

In the Bronx 

Congressman Serrano Meets with Forward South Bronx Coalition

Congressman Serrano met with Marines Rodriguez and Diana Garcia from the Forward South Bronx Coalition as part of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) Capitol Hill Day. They are substance use prevention and treatment professionals in the Bronx and sat down with Congressman Serrano to discuss their work as well discuss how to better work together to combat substance abuse in the Bronx.

Congressman Serrano Meets with Brightpoint Health and HRHCare

 Congressman Serrano met with  Anne Nolon (CEO), Chris Quinones (Chief Administrative Officer, Brightpoint Health) and Hope Glassberg (SVP), to discuss the HRHCare merger with Brightpoint Health. Brightpoint Health will create the largest community health center in New York state, and one of the largest in the country. They discussed the work they do in the community for thousands of patients in the Bronx as well as the impacts of their health centers. There are four sites in Congressman Serrano’s district, including Bronx Health Home, Boom! Health, Inwood Health Center, and Thrive.

Congressman Serrano Meets with the Institute for Family Health and The American Association of Teaching Health Centers (AATHC) 

Congressman Serrano met with the Institute for Family Health and The American Association of Teaching Health Centers (AATHC) in DC to discuss the reintroduction of his bill to reauthorize the Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education program, which funds physician training programs in New York’s urban & rural communities.

Congressman Serrano Meets with CUNY Students

Congressman Serrano met with The University Student Senate (USS), the representative student governance body of all 500,000 students at the City University of New York (CUNY). They discussed the importance of access to an affordable high-quality education as well as other issues that affect the lives of CUNY students.

Appropriations Chairs Write to Federal Bureau of Prisons About Living Conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn

Congressman Serrano, Chairman of the House Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee  and Congresswoman Nita Lowey, Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, sent a letter to the Acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) expressing frustrations about the conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, and demanding more details about the Bureau of Prison’s policies related to repairs during emergencies, inmate and staff safety during weather emergencies, and whether these procedures were followed last week. News outlets reported widespread inmate protests at the MDC Brooklyn facility after it had been without heat, electricity, and running water for a week following an electrical fire.  New York City and the rest of the Northeast was experiencing single-digit winter temperatures when the disruption in HVAC, electric, and water services took place. The failure of critical electrical systems also left inmates and staff unable to communicate medical needs.

“We understand that heat, hot water and electricity have been restored at the MDC and that BOP is taking steps to assess and address the repairs and equipment necessary to repair damage and ensure such a situation is not repeated.  We also understand that the Department of Justice and BOP are investigating the causes of this situation and how it was handled, and how it can ensure MDC has backup systems in place to prevent the problem from recurring.  However, this incident raises significant concerns.  The Bureau of Prisons has a responsibility to ensure the care and safety of those employed at and incarcerated in its facilities, and we believe that the Bureau has failed to live up to those responsibilities in this case,” the members wrote, followed by a list of questions the seek clarification on BOP emergency policies and spending as the fiscal year 2020 appropriations process begins.