January 27, 2009

Bingaman & Udall: Senate Appropriations Committee Clears Bill to Stimulate Economy

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall today reported that the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a $325 billion spending bill aimed at stimulating the nation's economy. Although most specific funding levels for New Mexico are not yet known, the Senators confirmed a significant amount will be directed to the state.

"With the nation's unemployment rates rising, we can't waste time getting a stimulus bill to President Obama's desk. This measure will help bolster the economy by fixing roads, constructing schools and health clinics, and making a variety of other infrastructure improvements that have been ignored for too long," Bingaman said.

"I am committed to working with President Obama to effectively stabilize our economy," said Udall. "This recovery package is carefully targeted to create jobs with the critical long-term investments important to New Mexicans in areas like energy, education, transportation and healthcare."

The vast majority of dollars directed to New Mexico will be determined by each federal department's funding formula for each state. Because the Senate bill has just been written, most funding levels for New Mexico have not yet been determined.

But a few New Mexico-specific funding levels are known. For example, the Senate stimulus bill contains $72 million to improve levees in Dona Ana County. It also contains roughly $19 million for ready-to-go wastewater projects and another $19 million for ready-to-go drinking water projects. About $28 million would be sent to New Mexico tribes and pueblos for road construction. The Senators also estimate that, under the Senate version of the bill, New Mexico would receive $245 million for highway projects -- about $32 million of which would go to the Albuquerque metropolitan region.

The Senate bill will be debated on the floor next week, and must be finalized with the House of Representatives before it can be sent to the president. Highlights of funding in the Senate bill are below:


* $2 billion for grants to U.S. battery manufacturers
* $2.4 billion for general R&D
* $4.5 billion for Smartgrid, $200 million of which for grid energy storage and $100 million of which will be used for worker training
* $6 billion total for environmental management cleanup and $390 million for uranium enrichment cleanup
* $1 billion for NNSA infrastructure upgrades with $100 million carved out for computing
* $1.4 billion National Science Foundation



* School Improvement Programs - $17.07 billion
* Education Technology State Grants - $1 billion
* Education for Homeless Children and Youth - $70
* School Modernization and Construction - $16 billion


* Rehabilitation Services and Disability Research - $610 million
* Support for State Vocational Rehabilitation Services - $500 million
* Support for Independent living services for the disabled - $110 million
* Student Financial Assistance - $13.93 billion
* Pell Grants - $13.869 billion (increases the maximum Pell grant by $281 for 09-10 school year and $400 for 10-11)
* Federal Perkins Loans - $61 million
* Higher Education Teacher Quality Partnership Grants - $100 million
* Higher Education Modernization - $3.5 billion


* $34.9 million in transit funding for New Mexico of which about $13.7 million will go to N.M. DOT for distribution to smaller cities and communities. The remainder will be distributed to the state's four largest metropolitan areas by formulae.
* $1.1 billion for discretionary grants to airports for safety and expansion projects


* A total of $9 billion to improve communities' access to broadband


* National Institutes of Health: $3.5 billion to conduct biomedical research in areas such as cancer, Alzheimer's, heart disease and stem cells, and to improve NIH facilities.
* Comparative Effectiveness Research: $1.1 billion to the Agency for Healthcare Research
* Community Health Centers: $1 billion to construct and renovate clinics, and make health information technology improvements. Community health centers serve 20 percent of the nation's uninsured population.


* $1.375 billion to support loans and grants for rural water and wastewater disposal; New Mexico's share will be about $15 million for grants and loans.
* $395 million for watershed rehabilitation and flood prevention operation to provide for construction of flood prevention and water supply facilities;
* $17.530 million to support $400 million in direct and guaranteed farm ownership loans;
* $24.9 million to support $250 million in direct and guaranteed farm operating loans;
* $200 million to support $11.5 billion in single family housing loans that will assist about 105,000 low income rural households with home ownership or foreclosure avoidance;
* $127 million to support $1.5 billion in loans and grants for Rural Community Facilities including hospitals, health clinics and public buildings;
* $150 million to support $3 billion in loans and grants to support rural business expansion;
* $200 million for biorefinery funds to assist in development of advanced biofuels; and,
* $50 million for Rural Energy for America Program to promote energy efficiency on farms and rural small businesses.


* $1.2 billion in grants to states for youth employment
* $500 million for adult employment and training


* $2.2 billion for the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed homes


* BIA roads improvement - $150 million
* Indian Reservation Roads (DOT) - $320 million
* Tribal Transit Set-Aside (DOT) - $16.8 million


* Bureau of Reclamation Tribal Water Projects - $274 million (approximate)
* BIA irrigation construction and repair - $40 million
* BIA dams improvement - $25 million
* Safe Drinking and Clean Water Revolving Funds - $120 million (the language "permits" the Secretary to fund the tribal set-aside under these revolving funds)


* Indian Housing block grants (HUD) - $510 million
* BIA Housing Improvement Program - $20 million


* Tribal and BIA new schools construction - $132 million
* Tribal and BIA schools repair and improvement - $35 million
* BIA School Modernization (Dept. of Education) - $160 million


* Medical Facilities Upgrades- $1.37 billion
* National Cemetery Administration $65 million Capital Infrastructure/Memorial-Monument Repairs


* Military Construction Air Force $871 million of which $612 million is for new airmen dormitories, plus an additional $80 million for new family housing
* Military Construction Army $637 million plus an additional $34 million for new family housing