Rep. Cisneros Submits Testimony to House Appropriations Advocating for 39th District Priorities

June 29, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Representative Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (CA-39) submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Committee outlining the priorities of the 39th District for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 House Appropriations bill. He advocated for funding for Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), aid for schools, support for housing programs, and funding for public health agencies. The text of the testimony can be viewed here. Rep. Cisneros also led multiple letters with his Republican and Democratic colleagues to the House Appropriations Subcommittee Chairs and Ranking Members requesting funding for important programs. 

“Since my first day in Congress, I’ve been fighting for the needs of the 39th District. I strongly believe that Congress’ budget should reflect and address the priorities of our constituents,” said Rep. Cisneros. “Whether it’s funding for education, small businesses, housing, or public health, I’ve been working with my Republican and Democratic colleagues to put these issues front and center. As a result of this pandemic, Congress needs to ensure that we provide the proper support to help our communities with long-term recovery and growth.”

Summaries of letters sent by Rep. Cisneros are below:

  • $150 million for Small Business Development Centers: Rep. Cisneros led a bipartisan letter with Reps. Don Young (R-AK-At-Large District), Rick Larsen (D-WA-02), and Troy Balderson (R-OH-12) advocating for $150 million for SBDCs, like the SBDC hosted at Cal State Fullerton (CSUF). The funding is consistent with the House-passed level in FY 2020. The letter was signed by 70 members.
  • $325 million for Hispanic Serving Institutions: Rep. Cisneros led a letter with the Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Castro Joaquin Castro (D-TX-20) in support of strong funding levels for programs that support HSIs, like CSUF. Despite the importance of these programs, the President has proposed significant cuts to programs that support HSIs, including a complete elimination of the Department of Education’s Aid for HSIs under the Higher Education Act. The letter was signed by 63 members and was endorsed by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.
  • $300 million for Emergency Solutions Grants: Rep. Cisneros led a letter signed by 12 other members urging for $300 million for ESGs, a $10 million increase from the House-passed level in FY 2020. The program has benefited programs across CA-39 to address and prevent homelessness. Earlier this year, Congressman Cisneros announced nearly $10 million in ESG funding distributed to the three counties in CA-39 under the CARES Act.
  • $980.4 million for English Language Acquisition Grants: Rep. Cisneros led a letter with Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ-03) urging for $980.4 million for English Language Acquisition Grants. This grant program helps our schools continue to serve English language learners and eliminate education gaps for these populations. The President proposed to eliminate dedicated federal funding for this program. The letter was signed by 22 members and was endorsed by UnidosUS.
  • $40 million for Minority Serving Institution Teacher Training Programs: Rep. Cisneros led a letter with Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-07), Jahana Hayes (D-CT-05), and Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA-06) urging for $40 million for the August F. Hawkins Center for Excellence grant program. This would provide critical funding to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) that have been instrumental in educating our nation’s racially and ethnically diverse teachers. The letter follows up on legislation introduced by Rep. Cisneros earlier this year to improve recruitment and retention. The letter was signed by 34 members. 
  • Include Language to Promote Diversity Among Military Officers: Rep. Cisneros led a letter requesting report language in the Fiscal Year 2021 Defense Appropriations Act to support military diversity. While the military academies have made progress in reaching out to underrepresented communities, there are still substantial gains needed to ensure diversity among military officers. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Cisneros has been active in pushing military leaders to improve minority representation and address racial disparities in the military. The letter was signed by 38 members.
  • $27.5 million for United Service Organizations: Rep. Cisneros led a bipartisan letter with Joe Wilson (R-SC-02) urging for $27.5 million for USOs, a $7.5 million increase from the House-passed level in FY 2020. USO locations are the foundation of the organization's connection to the military community and deliver a variety of programs and services to support and strengthen members of the United States Armed Forces deployed overseas, military families, and servicemembers transitioning from military to civilian life. The letter was signed by 18 members.
  • $17 million for Humanitarian Demining Research and Development: Rep. Cisneros led a bipartisan letter urging for $17 million for the Department of Defense’s HD R&D Program. The program budget has seen several years of underfunding. Additional funding will improve the ability of U.S. soldiers and our allies’ ability to safely detect and clear landmines, UXO, and IEDs. This funding is especially important as new conflicts uncover new threats in areas like the Middle East, Libya, and Ukraine. The letter was signed by 34 members.

Rep. Cisneros solicited feedback from CA-39 constituents and leaders to ensure the 39th District receives its fair share of federal resources and participated in two member days (before the House Appropriations Subcommittees on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Financial Services and General Government) before they were canceled because of the pandemic.