September 15, 2020

AUDIO: On ‘Tuesdays with Tom’, Udall Pushes for Senate Action on Coronavirus Relief, Encourages New Mexicans to Fill Out 2020 Census

Senate Republicans callously “hit pause” on COVID-19 relief legislation, creating a financial cliff for New Mexico families and state, local and Tribal governments

New Mexico’s Census response rate falls behind national response rate as Trump administration cuts deadline one month short

AUDIO: Udall Hosts Press Call on Coronavirus Relief, Importance of Full and Fair Census count to New Mexico 

WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) held a press call with New Mexico reporters to push for urgent Senate action on COVID-19 relief legislation and encouraged New Mexicans to fill out the 2020 Census.

Though the House of Representatives passed another round of COVID-19 relief legislation in May, Senate Republicans delayed action on additional coronavirus relief for months. Last week, Senate Republicans forced a vote on a partisan, insufficient and counterproductive bill that failed to get the necessary votes to move forward.

“Our nation is nearing a grim milestone. Soon, over 200,000 Americans will have died of COVID-19,” Udall said. “We have already suffered the loss of over 800 New Mexicans to the virus. But unfortunately, Senate Republicans and the White House wasted months, deciding to ‘hit pause’ on another COVID-19 relief package.”

Udall outlined his priorities for further coronavirus relief. “Everyone wants to reopen the economy and send our kids back to school, but the Trump administration’s lack of a national testing plan has made that impossible – even though states like New Mexico have worked valiantly to make up for the administration’s failures. We must extend unemployment assistance. I am standing firm with Senate Democrats to keep this assistance at $600 dollars per week as Republicans try to cut this financial lifeline. And we must send relief to state, local and Tribal governments so they can continue providing essential services to all Americans.”

Udall further encouraged New Mexicans to fill out the 2020 Census. “The Census determines billions of dollars in federal funding over the next 10 years for programs that are vital to our communities. Every single person counts. Missing only one person can mean losing $3,000 dollars per year over 10 years. 

“Right now – New Mexico’s enumeration rate is one of the lowest in the nation – at about 86 percent,” Udall continued. “It’s imperative for every single New Mexican to complete the Census right now. It’s easy: you can do it by phone, by mail, and over the internet, and only takes 10 minutes.  Taking 10 minutes to complete the Census will make a difference for the next 10 years in your community.”

New Mexicans that have yet to respond to the 2020 Census can do so immediately by visiting www.my2020census.gov. 

Listen to the audio HERE. 

Udall’s remarks are below:

0:00 Hello everyone. Thank you for joining today.

0:04 The Senate is back in session, and we should be working together to pass additional COVID-19 relief legislation. 

0:14 Our nation is nearing a grim milestone. Soon, over 200,000 Americans will have died of COVID-19. We have already suffered the loss of over 800 New Mexicans to the virus.

0:28 But unfortunately, Senate Republicans and the White House wasted months, deciding to “hit pause” on another COVID-19 relief package.

0:40 The House passed the HEROES Act, a comprehensive coronavirus relief package, nearly 4 months ago. That bill would fund testing and contact tracing efforts – so that we can get back to work and back to school safely. It would extend weekly unemployment assistance at $600 dollars per week. And it would send relief to state, local and Tribal governments.

1:07 Meanwhile, after delaying for months, last week Senate Republicans finally unveiled their plan – if you can call it that.

1:14 It turns out they wanted to cut unemployment assistance by 50 percent to $300 dollars per week, create a liability shield for corporations who expose workers and customers to the virus, and leave state, local and Tribal governments hanging out to dry. 

1:38 It’s simply unacceptable that the Senate Republican majority and the White House are prioritizing major corporate profits over the urgent needs of the American people. Families in New Mexico are struggling to put food on the table. 

1:57 My priorities as we move forward are to pass bipartisan legislation that will:

- Fund a national testing and contact tracing strategy;

- Extend unemployment assistance for New Mexico families, and

- Send relief to state, local, and Tribal governments that are facing unprecedented strain.

2:17 Everyone wants to reopen the economy and send our kids back to school, but the Trump administration’s lack of a national testing plan has made that impossible – even though states like New Mexico have worked valiantly to make up for the administration’s failures. 

2:35 We must extend unemployment assistance. I am standing firm with Senate Democrats to keep this assistance at $600 dollars per week as Republicans try to cut this financial lifeline. 

2:48 And we must send relief to state, local and Tribal governments so they can continue providing essential services to all Americans.

2:58 As vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I am pushing for direct relief for Tribal governments across the country. 

3:06 Leaving state and Tribal governments to “go it alone” jeopardizes even more jobs and needlessly threatens economic recovery in our communities. 

3:18 Senate Republicans must come to the table so that we can secure a real, bipartisan compromise. I am working hard for a deal that will meet the urgent needs of this moment.  

3:29 I’d now like to turn to an issue that’s also critical to New Mexico’s future: the 2020 Census.

3:38 The Census determines billions of dollars in federal funding over the next 10 years for programs that are vital to our communities. 

3:46 Every single person counts. Missing only one person can mean losing $3,000 dollars per year over 10 years. 

3:56 And only a 1 percent statewide undercount can lose us $600 million dollars over the next decade. 

4:07 Right now – New Mexico’s enumeration rate is one of the lowest in the nation – at about 86 percent. 

4:15 In the spring, the Census Bureau committed to extending the data collection period to October 31st because of COVID-19. 

4:22 But this summer, the Trump administration abruptly changed course and announced they would stop the count on September 30th.

4:32 Recently a federal court blocked the Trump administration from cutting short the count.  But we don’t know if that injunction will be made permanent, and therefore it’s imperative for every single New Mexican to complete the Census right now.

4:48 It’s easy: you can do it by phone, by mail, and over the internet, and only takes 10 minutes.  Taking 10 minutes to complete the Census will make a difference for the next 10 years in your community.

5:02 Udall takes questions.