U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján
From the Office of U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) has announced strong support for New Mexico priorities in the FY 2019 Defense and Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Minibus, including funding to address the ongoing opioids crisis, improve public education, and strengthen our national security.
“This package includes funding for programs that are critical to public health and education efforts in New Mexico, while providing continued support for our servicemen and women,” Luján said. “Communities in New Mexico and in every corner of this country have suffered tremendously from the opioid epidemic, and this legislation includes increased funding for grant programs that will bolster our efforts to bring an end to this crisis. Funding to support our mental health workforce is also vital to that work, which is why I am pleased this package includes increased funding for peer support programs that have been successful in helping people suffering from substance use disorder recover.
“This legislation also includes significant funding to support early education, college affordability, and workforce development, which will help New Mexicans compete for the jobs of the future. It also supports Hispanic-Serving Institutions to meet the needs of New Mexico’s Hispanic students. Finally, I’m pleased to see that New Mexico’s servicemembers will receive a well-deserved pay increase.”
Specifically, the FY 2019 Defense and Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Minibus includes:
Fighting the opioid epidemic: $1.5 billion in grants for states to address the opioid crisis. Luján championed the initial authorization for this effort in the 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed into law in December 2016. He has introduced the Opioid and Heroin Abuse Crisis Investment Act of 2017 to extend this funding through fiscal year 2023 (H.R. 3495).
Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training program: Funding for behavioral health paraprofessionals – or Peer Support Specialists – to bolster the mental health and substance use disorder workforce. Luján authored language supporting this funding.
Diagnostic Safety: $2 million to support grants to address diagnostic errors at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Luján sent a letter in support of this funding.
Community Health Centers: $1.6 billion in discretionary funding for Community Health Centers. This, along with $4.0 billion in mandatory funding, means $5.6 billion in total for Community Health Centers – a $200 million increase. Community Health Centers are central to ensuring that everyone has access to health care, especially in rural New Mexico. Luján sent letters in support of this funding.
Expanding Access to Behavioral Health Services: $150 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, which is $50 million more than the FY 2018 enacted level. Luján sent letters in support of this funding.
Fighting Poverty: $725 million for the Community Services Block Grant, which is $10 million more than the FY 2018 enacted level. The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) provides funds to alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty in communities. Luján sent letters in support of this funding.
Head Start: $10 billion for Head Start, which is $200 million more than the FY 2018 enacted level. Of the total increase, $50 million is provided for Early Head Start. Funding in 2017 provided over 9,000 Head Start and Early Head Start slots for students in New Mexico. Luján sent a letter in support of this funding.
Pell Grants: Funding to increase the maximum Pell Grant award to $6,195. In 2017-2018, more than 40,000 New Mexico students received Pell Grant assistance. Luján sent a letter in support of this funding.
Impact Aid: $1.4 billion for Impact Aid, which is $32 million more than the FY 2018 enacted level. Impact Aid compensates school districts for educating students who live on federal lands where many residents are exempt from local property taxes that would traditionally fund these schools. Federal Impact Aid is critical for New Mexico, where many school districts receive funding from the program because they serve the large number of federal military installations and Indian lands in the state. Luján sent a letter in support of this funding.
Hispanic-Serving Institutions: $124 million to support institutions of higher education that educates a large share of Hispanic students. New Mexico is home to 23 Hispanic-Serving Institutions. Luján sent a letter in support of this funding.
Job Corps: $1.7 billion for Job Corps, which offers education and vocational training to young men and women ages 16 to 24. Luján sent a letter in support of this funding.
Career and Technical Education: $1.3 billion for Career and Technical Education, which is $70 million more than the FY 2018 enacted level, to help ensure students are well prepared for further education and employment in high-skill and high-demand jobs. Luján sent a letter in support of this funding.
Public Broadcasting: $445 million as an advance appropriation for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and $20 million for upgrades to technological infrastructure. Luján sent a letter in support of this funding.
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): $50 million more than the FY 2018 enacted level. Luján sent a letter in support of this funding.