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The Serrano Report, Vol. X, #7 - Sequester, Gun Control, Post Office

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Serrano Opposes Continuing Resolution

On Thursday, the House of Representatives considered a Continuing Resolution to keep the federal government funded for the remainder of fiscal year 2013. Congressman Serrano, the Ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee, opposed the bill because it cuts many important programs and policies, including healthcare reform and financial reform.

"I could not vote for legislation that provides inadequate funding for some of our nation's most important initiatives, including the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank financial reform," said Serrano. "Moreover, this harm is compounded by the fact that this bill does nothing to stop the sequester. I am particularly worried about the effect this bill will have on the Internal Revenue Service's ability to implement all of the tax credits in the Affordable Care Act, and on the Security and Exchange Commission's ability to protect Americans against another financial meltdown. We need a solution that will prevent important services that all Americans depend on from being impacted, and allows all agencies the flexibility to address the current effect of the sequester. This bill fails in both respects."

Despite Serrano's opposition, the bill passed the House. It now moves on to the President for his signature.

Serrano Questions FBI Director about Gun Sales

On Tuesday, during a hearing on the budget for the Federal Bureau of Investigation for fiscal year 2014 budget, Congressman Serrano questioned FBI Director Robert Mueller about the effect of sequestration on gun background checks. He expressed concern that the decrease in funding would have a detrimental impact on the ability to get background checks completed, and would reduce the number of gun sales constrained by this important security measure. Under current law, if a background check is not completed within three days the gun may be purchased without the check.

Serrano asked the director, "Now that you have been living with the sequester have you already had to degrade background checks?...Do you anticipate further weakening of this system as the sequester continues?" Director Mueller responded that they had seen a large increase in requests for background checks, and that the FBI has had to increase the number of people working on the checks. "We still are hitting a figure of 97% completed within the three-day period, but we are struggling to keep up with the increase. And quite obviously the budget concerns, the constraints make it that much more difficult."

Serrano Defends Bronx General Post Office

On Monday, Congressman Serrano sent a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe asking him to suspend the plan to sell the historic Bronx General Post Office. Congressman Serrano asked that the Postmaster General restart the public consultation process so that the community's wishes are taken into account, provide a detailed plan so that the historically significant elements of the building can be preserved, and present a strategy so that mail service is unaffected.

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