January 17, 2019

VIDEO: Udall Calls for Action on Bipartisan Interior Appropriations Bill As Part of Broader Call to Reopen All of the Federal Government

As Republican leadership objects to reopening the government, Udall calls for Senate to pass bill funding Interior Dept., EPA, BLM, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Health Service, and more

VIDEO: Udall Calls for Action on Bipartisan Interior Appropriations Bill As Part of Broader Call to Reopen All of the Federal Government

WASHINGTON -- Today, on day 27 of the longest government shutdown in American history, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, spoke on the Senate floor to demand action on the bipartisan Interior appropriations bill passed by the House last week, H.R. 266 -- a move that Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked. 

If passed, the bill would reopen a wide range of federal agencies and departments that are critical to New Mexico and Indian Country, including the Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Indian Health Service.  Udall’s remarks came as he and U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) sought unanimous consent to pass a broader bill that would reopen the entire federal government, including agencies in the Interior and Environment appropriations bill. Republican Majority Leader McConnell objected, blocking the bill.

“I have the privilege of serving as the ranking member of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee.  And I know how critical that this bill is -- particularly for my home state of New Mexico and states across the West,” said Udall. “The Interior bill funds basic services -- like health care and public safety for two million American Indians and Alaska Natives through the Indian Health Service and Bureau of Indian Affairs.” 

“The agencies in this bill fund science, wildlife protection, energy development, and arts and cultural programs in every state. And they employ tens of thousands of Americans,”continued Udall. “There’s no reason why they should be shuttered. They are simply too important.”

Udall fought to secure funding for New Mexico priorities in the Interior appropriations bill, including the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), wildfire suppression and the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program.