WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and lead Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, issued the following statement on President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal, which was released Tuesday, Feb. 9.
“The president’s proposed budget is an important starting point, which Congress should consult as we begin the budget process and writing the appropriations bills that fund the government. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, one of my most important responsibilities is to fight for funding and investments in New Mexico priorities, including our national labs, public lands and our military bases. I will be working hard to ensure Los Alamos and Sandia national labs and our bases get the funding they need to continue their important national security and scientific work. I’m also continuing to work with the Department of Energy to improve technology transfer from the labs, which has the potential to create jobs in New Mexico. This year’s budget includes a new line item for the Office of Technology Transitions, a program I’ve pushed for, and while this is a small step, it’s encouraging progress.
“The federal budget plays an important role in setting priorities and making critical investments to boost communities and working families. With New Mexico’s economy lagging behind and many families still struggling with unemployment or underemployment, I welcome the president’s emphasis on funding for programs aimed at ensuring everyone can get a fair shot at opportunity: Quality child care and improved access to health care; education and job training for 21st century careers; support for working or unemployed families; investments in clean energy, fighting climate change and high tech innovation to create high-paying jobs; full funding for successful conservation programs that enhance our communities and boost local economies — including the Land and Water Conservation Fund; incentives to help small business owners grow their businesses; increased funding for veterans’ health care; and a $1 billion investment over two years in programs to prevent and treat heroin and prescription drug addiction across the country, particularly in rural communities.
“Military bases and facilities are critical to New Mexico, and our service members are important to our communities as well as our national security. I’m pleased that the president is recognizing the hard work that our men and women in uniform do every day to keep our country safe. His budget proposes a pay increase, and I will work to ensure our service members and their families get the raise they need and have earned.
“Finally, we have made progress over the last year by lifting the across-the-board sequestration budget cuts, which have had a devastating impact in New Mexico. Instead of blunt cuts to important programs, we need to make smart budget decisions that allow investment without punishing struggling communities. I appreciate that the administration continues to offer solutions to lift sequestration in 2018 and beyond.
“The president has done his work by drafting his budget request, and now I’m looking forward to working as a member of the Appropriations Committee to ensure priorities for New Mexico and our nation get the funding they need to stay strong.”