|Name||Jose E. Serrano|
|Address||910 Grand Concourse 4G |
Bronx, New York 10451, United States
|| October 24, 1943
Feb 05, 2013 01:42pm
Hispanic - Very Liberal - Married - Catholic -
|Info||Rep. Jos� E. Serrano (D-NY), Ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, the Judiciary of the exclusive and powerful House Appropriations Committee, represents the Sixteenth Congressional District in the Bronx. This year, Serrano, who also serves in the influential House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, celebrates his 28th year in the public service. Serrano has been in Congress for seven terms. |
Congressman Serrano was born in Mayag�ez, Puerto Rico on October 24, 1943, but when he was seven years-old his family moved to the South Bronx, where he attended public schools and completed courses at Lehman College, City University of New York. The most senior member of the three stateside Puerto Ricans in Congress, he served in the 172nd Support Battalion, Fort Wainright, Alaska, in the U.S. Army Medical Corps.
Before being elected to the United States Congress, Serrano had a distinguished sixteen year career in the New York State Assembly, including six years as chairman of the Education Committee. He was elected to the State Assembly in 1974, and was re-elected and continued to represent the same Bronx communities until his election to the U.S. Congress.
In 1983, Serrano was appointed Chairman of the Assembly's Committee on Education. He authored legislation that doubled state funding for bilingual education programs in 125 languages and provided $50 million in funding for New York City to combat school drop-out crisis. Working to better the future of children has been very satisfying for Serrano.
Elected by an overwhelming majority to represent New York's 18th Congressional District by a special ballot, Serrano was sworn in as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in March 1990. Serrano was re-elected to serve a full term in November 1990. In 1992 he was reelected to represent the newly drawn 16th Congressional District as well as in 1994, 1996, 1998 and again in 2000 each time receiving wide margins of support.
The first bill of which Serrano was a prime sponsor (P.L. 101 600) provides funding for successful school drop out prevention programs. It was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush on November 16, 1990. His most recent legislative proposal enacted into law (H.R. 2897) followed the September 11th terrorists attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. This bill was incorporated into a larger bill and signed into law at the end of 2001. It granted posthumous citizenship to non-citizens who died as a result of the September 11th attacks and who had already started the petition process to become U.S. citizens.
During his time in Congress, Serrano has co-sponsored a number of major bills including the Civil Rights Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Higher Education Act, the Brady gun control bill, and the C�sar Ch�vez Workplace Fairness Act.
During the 102nd Congress, Serrano sponsored the Voting Rights Improvement Act, mandating bilingual registration and voting, and the Classroom Safety Act, to provide funds for programs to discourage violence and protect students and teachers. Through his first full term, Congressman Serrano served on the Committee on Education and Labor and the Committee on Small Business.
In 1992, Serrano was appointed to the prestigious Appropriations Committee, an exclusive committee -because Members serve solely on that committee- responsible for approving the expenditure of federal funds and for applying fiscal discipline to the federal budget process.
Serrano served then on the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, and on the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, and on Subcommittees on the Legislative Branch and on Agriculture.
Congressman Serrano was instrumental in the allocation of $7.5 billion for child nutrition programs and $28 billion for food stamps, $3.3 billion for Head Start, $543.2 million for AIDS prevention and $111.5 million for tuberculosis control grants.
In addition, in 1992, Serrano was elected by his colleagues to serve a two-year term as Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and chaired its administrative branch, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. Continuing as a member of the Hispanic Caucus, Congressman Serrano now serves on the Civil Rights and Census Task Force. During the 107th Congress, he has led the caucus's fight to assure that issues crucial to Hispanics and immigrants are not disregarded.
In the legislative caucus, his vigorous leadership was responsible for passage of several bills of special interest to Hispanics and other minorities. The caucus was also credited with defeat of a number of bills whose purposes have been described as "immigrant-bashing" and also successfully opposed efforts to make English the nation's official language, a measure which some see as intolerant of cultural diversity in our society.
In 1994, Serrano sponsored the Bilingual Education Act, parts of which were incorporated in the Elementary and Secondary School Act, and the Minority Health Opportunity Enhancement Act, which would amend the Public Health Service Act to provide improved access to health care services for individuals lacking proficiency in English.
Also, Serrano co-sponsored the School-To-Work Act, which will help students move from high school into the workforce. The Act encourages schools and local businesses to develop partnerships that will expose students to new work experiences and career opportunities. The Appropriations Committee provided an increase of $180 million in funds for the School-to-Work program.
Serrano also supported increases of $260 million in women, infants, and children supplemental feeding, $334 million for elementary and secondary education, $283 million for the Goals 2000 Education Reform, $210 million for Head Start, $178 million in dislocated worker assistance, $297 million in homeless assistance, and $1.3 million in rental assistance.
In 1995, Serrano was appointed to the prestigious Judiciary Committee, and, of special importance, the Subcommittee on the Constitution. As part of the Democratic Leadership Team, he was also named Vice Chairman of the Democratic Steering Committee, and re-appointed in 1996. The Steering Committee assigns all Democrat members to committees.
The House Democratic Caucus re-appointed Congressman Serrano to the Appropriations Committee in March of 1996, and he resigned from the House Judiciary Committee to accept the new committee seat.
Together with the Democratic leadership, Serrano led the approval of legislation which would raise the minimum wage from $4.25 to $5.15 by July of 1997. And, during the 104th Congress, Serrano also supported the passage of the Prevention of Sexual Crimes Against Children Act and the Housing for Older Persons Act, both also signed by President Clinton into law.
Serrano is the architect of the "English-Plus" Resolution, which expresses the sense of Congress that the Government should pursue policies to encourage the use and learning of various languages to protect national interests and civil rights. In 1996, Serrano introduced the resolution as a substitute to an English-only measure on the House floor, for which he won support of 178 members. He has submitted this bill again for the 107th Congress.
The "English Plus Resolution" encourages residents of the United States to become fully proficient in English, conserve and develop the Nation's linguistic resources by encouraging all residents to learn or maintain skills in a language other than English. The "English Plus Resolution" also resolves to continue to provide services in languages other than English to facilitate access to essential functions of government, promote public health and safety, protect rights and promote equal educational opportunity.
During the first session of the 105th Congress, Serrano became Ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Legislative Branch and third ranking Democratic member on its Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies. On the first day of the 105th Congress, Serrano introduced 16 pieces of legislation on education, nutrition, crime prevention, and other issues.
Serrano fought vehemently against measures proposed by Republicans which would balance the budget on the backs of poor working families, children, the ill, the elderly, and immigrants. Serrano then argued, among other things, that the bill provided $91 billion in tax breaks, while it cuts $115 billion in Medicare payments to hospitals and health care providers.
Also during the 105th Congress, Serrano sponsored a bill to provide demonstration grants to establish clearing houses for the distribution of information on youth crime prevention to community-based organizations. Serrano sponsored a measure that would create a United States Library Trust Fund to provide the financial support to buy books for public libraries and public school libraries.
Congressman Serrano presented a bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to apply to Hispanic-serving institutions of higher education the same student loan default rate limitations applicable to historically Black colleges and universities.
He also authored a legislation entitled "The Cuban Reconciliation Act," which would repeal the Cuban embargo and the sanctions imposed by the Helms-Burton Act. On January 8, 1997, Serrano reintroduced "The Cuban Baseball Diplomacy Act", which would enable Cuban nationals to play organized professional baseball in the United States.
In the days following his swearing for his seventh term in the House of Representatives for the 107th Congress, Serrano introduced several bills to address various concerns. The proposed legislation by Congressman Serrano during the current Congress would:
require the labeling of food products grown on land on which sewage sludge has been applied;
permit Members of the House to direct donation of their used computer equipment to public elementary and secondary schools;
enact a Constitutional amendment to repeal the limit on Presidential terms;
provide incentives for use of clean-fuel vehicles in empowerment zones and enterprise communities;
promote a policy of "English Plus";
authorize the printing of a revised and updated version of the House document entitled "Hispanic Americans in Congress";
propose an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty second amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President;
waive certain prohibitions with respect to nationals of Cuba coming to the United States to play organized professional baseball;
amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to ensure that veterans of the United States Armed Forces are eligible for discretionary relief from detention, deportation, exclusion, and removal, and for other purposes;
amend the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 to allow for the financing of agricultural sales to Cuba;
lift the trade embargo on Cuba;
amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for designation of overpayments and contributions to the United States Library Trust Fund;
provide the people of Cuba with access to food and medicines from the United States, to ease restrictions on travel to Cuba, to provide scholarships for certain Cuban nationals;
establish the Elie Wiesel Youth Leadership Congressional Fellowship Program in the House of Representatives;
provide for the granting of posthumous citizenship to certain aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence who died as a result of the hijackings of 4 commercial aircraft, the attacks on the World Trade Center, or the attack on the Pentagon, on September 11, 2001;
Today, Congressman Serrano serves as the Ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, the Judiciary. He also serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, which makes recommendations on funding to continue investments in the Nation's infrastructure. As Ranking Democrat on the CJSJ Subcommittee, he has jurisdiction over the following agencies:
Department of Commerce
Department of Justice.
Department of State (Except International Narcotics Control; International Organizations and Programs (voluntary contributions); Migration and Refugee Assistance; Non proliferation, Anti terrorism, Demining and Related Programs; Peacekeeping Operations (voluntary contributions); U.S. Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund).
Department of Transportation: Maritime Administration.
Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad.
Commission on Civil Rights.
Commission on Immigration Reform.
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Competitiveness Policy Council.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Federal Communications Commission.
Federal Maritime Commission.
Federal Trade Commission.
International Trade Commission.
Japan United States Friendship Commission.
Legal Services Corporation.
Marine Mammal Commission.
National Bankruptcy Review Commission.
National Gambling Impact Study Commission.
Office of the United States Trade Representative.
Ounce of Prevention Council.
Securities and Exchange Commission.
Small Business Administration.
State Justice Institute.
United States Information Agency.
Throughout his 28 years of public career, Serrano has consistently pursued a legislative program that reflects his political philosophy. He believes the primary role of government is to provide a climate in which all citizens are treated equally and compete based entirely on their ability, in an economy in which employment, housing and health care facilities are available; a government that cares for those in need, especially our most vulnerable, the elderly, the disabled and our children.
Serrano deplores bigotry and prejudice in any form, especially in government, and he endorses a foreign policy in which every possible diplomatic means is exhausted in the search for a peaceful resolution of all differences.
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