February 09, 2018

Udall Votes for Bipartisan Budget Agreement

2-year deal rejects Trump budget cuts, sets up funding for critical New Mexico priorities

WASHINGTON — Early this morning, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, joined the Senate in voting 71-28 to advance a bipartisan budget agreement, which sets funding levels for a future spending deal, ensures important funding for New Mexico families and federal installations, and ends the uncertainty over vital health programs for children and working families. Udall issued the following statement:

“As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’m proud to have fought for this two-year budget deal that rejects the Trump administration’s disastrous proposed budget cuts and provides stable funding for New Mexico priorities. This agreement ends the gut-wrenching uncertainty that has faced New Mexico’s working families, health care providers and Tribes by providing long-term funding for community health centers, the Special Diabetes Program for Indians, and the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program. It also includes a much-needed 10-year reauthorization for CHIP, which means that families who rely on this important program will no longer have to worry whether they can afford to go to the doctor when their kids get sick.

“By moving past arbitrary spending caps that have limited federal funding since 2013 and rejecting President Trump’s draconian proposed budget cuts, the bipartisan agreement means strong funding for New Mexico’s national labs and military bases and other critical national security needs, as well as other priorities important to New Mexico’s economy and communities, like helping parents pay for child care, and making college more affordable for young people who want to be teachers, police officers and firefighters. It makes investments in rural broadband, clean water, and veterans’ health care. And it funds public land management, education and research, and economic assistance for small businesses and farmers and ranchers. The budget gives our communities new resources they need in the battle against the opioid crisis. And it will help Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas, and other states recovering from devastating wildfires and unprecedented hurricanes.

“With this agreement in place, the Senate is now expected to begin debating immigration legislation to protect DREAMers. I stand with my Democratic colleagues in the House who are asking for a similar open and fair process from Speaker Paul Ryan. Congress must not kowtow to President Trump – we must act urgently to protect the future of DREAMers, and I will not stop fighting until we reach a permanent solution that truly honors the values of our communities.”

In total, the agreement increases federal investments in domestic priorities by $63 billion in fiscal year 2018 and $68 billion in fiscal year 2019. The deal includes a commitment to improve federal support in several areas that are critical to working families, including:

-$6 billion more to fund the fight against the opioid and mental health crises,
-10 years of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP),
-A funding increase of $600 million for community health centers,
-$5.8 billion for the bipartisan Child Care Development Block Grant program,
-$4 billion to rebuild and improve VA Health hospitals and clinics,
-$2 billion for important research at the National Institutes of Health,
-$20 billion to improve infrastructure, including surface transportation, rural water and wastewater, clean and safe drinking water, rural broadband, and energy infrastructure, and
-$4 billion for programs that aid college affordability, including those that help police officers, teachers, and firefighters.

The agreement also supports the nation’s security needs, increasing funding by $80 billion in FY 2018 and $85 billion the following year for the Department of Defense and other defense programs, including the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) which funds New Mexico’s two national laboratories.