December 18, 2013

Udall Joins Senate in Approving Budget that Reduces Sequestration Cuts, Offers Relief to N.M.

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall joined the full Senate in voting for the bipartisan budget agreement, which was approved by a vote of 64-36. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly last week by a bipartisan vote of 332-94.

Udall, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has been fighting for budget certainty and an end to the devastating sequestration cuts, which have disproportionately hurt New Mexico. He issued the following statement:

"While the budget bill is not exactly what I would have written, it does two very important things for New Mexico. It rolls back sequestration's harmful cuts to national defense, the national labs, public land agencies, and many other federal installations that are critical to New Mexico's economy. It also lays out federal budgets for the next two years, providing a level of certainty that New Mexico's federal installations have said is desperately needed. I am willing to work to remedy the problematic parts of this agreement in future legislation. I have cosponsored a bill that would restore an unfair cut to working-age military retirees' cost of living adjustments, and I will continue to fight against making permanent an administrative fee on oil and gas royalties that costs New Mexico around $10 million a year.

"Without this budget measure, we face more conflict over spending and likely further job losses in New Mexico. Another short-term spending measure like those we've passed recently would lock in sequestration's economically devastating across-the-board cuts and could lead to a government shutdown in just a few short weeks. Officials at New Mexico's federal installations have assured me that not only would another round of cuts and budget dysfunction lead to layoffs, it would also negatively impact national security and likely cause irreparable harm to the government's ability to recruit and retain the best minds in science, research and management.

"You wouldn't run a successful business by lurching from crisis to crisis and budgeting a few weeks at a time - and it's no way to run a government. I'm going to continue to work toward sensible, bipartisan solutions that keep our budgets in check while maintaining our government services, and keeping our national defense strong and our economy healthy in New Mexico and around the country."