Luján Secures Critical Investments For Los Alamos, Sandia, Environmental Priorities In Nat’l Defense Authorization Act

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján

From the Office of U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján:

…Increases the budget for LANL by nearly $1 billion 

…Increases the budget for SNL by more than $300 million

Washington, D.C. – U.S. House Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) secured critical investments for America’s National Laboratories and environmental priorities in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, which passed the House today with bipartisan support.

“While the Trump administration has failed to adequately address the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress has come together in a bipartisan manner to strengthen our military response to future pandemics. I’m proud that this legislation addresses the national security concerns related to this public health emergency, provides our servicemembers a much-deserved raise, invests in our critical national laboratories, and recognizes those impacted by radiation exposure during the Cold War,” Luján said. 

As our nation continues to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the NDAA includes a critical provision creating a $1 billion Pandemic Preparedness and Resilience National Security Fund to increase our ability to prepare for and respond to future pandemics. The NDAA also includes a 3 percent pay raise for active duty servicemembers and requires additional improvements for military housing to take care of our nation’s military families. 

The FY21 NDAA includes the following priorities for New Mexico:

A historic increase in authorization levels for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) that will support the missions of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL)

  • Increases the budget for Los Alamos National Laboratory by nearly $1 billion;
  • Increases the budget for Sandia National Laboratories by more than $300 million;

Protects basic research programs at LANL and SNL

  • Includes language protecting the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program by exempting this program from paying internal lab overhead tax. This provision increases basic research at LANL and SNL by a combined $24 million each year;

Leverages National Laboratories to combat the climate crisis

  • Calls for the participation of National Security Laboratories – including LANL and SNL – to address climate-driven national security risks. This provision also is recommended in the report recently released by the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis that Luján serves on.

Invests in Kirtland Air Force Base

  • Includes $46 million for building improvements at Kirtland AFB.

Recognizes Radiation Exposure Survivors 

Following the 75th anniversary of the Trinity Test in New Mexico, Luján secured a congressional apology for states – including New Mexico – impacted by radiation from nuclear testing. The NDAA also includes a Sense of Congress that the United States should compensate and recognize all of the miners, workers, downwinders, and others suffering from the effects of uranium mining and nuclear testing carried out during the Cold War. Luján has championed strengthening the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.