U.S. SENATE NEWS:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On his weekly radio press conference call Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall discussed legislation he’s introducing with Wyoming’s senators to protect New Mexico’s mineral royalties from sequestration cuts.
He also expressed strong concern over the Department of Justice’s collection of Associated Press phone records and reacted to reports that the IRS targeted groups based on political ideology.
Below are highlights from Udall’s remarks:
0:00 – Udall discusses legislation he’s introducing today to protect New Mexico’s mineral royalties from sequestration cuts.
1:38 – “It would effectively prohibit the administration from sequestering the mineral royalties we’re owed, and it would eliminate the 2 percent fee the feds charge for collecting and distributing the revenue. The agreement for mineral development in our state needs to be honored. As I said back in March, I’m committed to finding a way to protect New Mexico’s share.”
2:02 – Udall also announces new legislation, the Graduation Promise Act, to combat the nation’s high school dropout crisis.
2:54 –“Kids in New Mexico deserve a bright and promising future. We need them to succeed and graduate from high school. We can do this by helping the schools that need it the most, not punishing them for underperforming.”
5:00 –Udall expresses concern over news that the Department of Justice subpoenaed two months of Associated Press phone records as part of an investigation into a leak involving a counterterrorism operation in Yemen.
“Americans and New Mexicans treasure a free and open press. So the Department of Justice’s collection of AP phone records is very troubling. When conducting an investigation, the government should only seek records related to the press as a last resort. And the request should be drawn as narrowly as possible. I’m concerned not only about the collection of the AP records, but the breadth of the request by… the DOJ.
“…Congress has a responsibility of oversight into this matter. We should investigate whether the Department of Justice’s actions were appropriate, even in the course of investigating a potential leak of classified national security information.”
6:24 – Udall answers a question on the sequester’s impact on firefighting resources.
8:11 – Udall fields questions on the IRS targeting conservative leaning groups applying for nonprofit status, Benghazi and health care exchanges.