U.S. SENATE News:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On his weekly radio press conference call, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall provided an update on federal storm recovery funding to help repair recent flood damage in New Mexico. He also discussed Republicans’ looming threat of a government shutdown and the impact it would have on the state if agreement cannot be reached prior to Oct. 1.
Below are highlights from Udall’s remarks:
0:00 – Udall opens the call with remarks on cleanup efforts from the recent storms, noting the delivery of Department of Transportation emergency funds and how he will continue fighting for federal support to repair damages.
0:40 – “As a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing, I’ve been a strong supporter of emergency transportation funds, and I’m very glad the Department of Transportation is coming through with this support. The estimates are that we sustained well over $9 million in damages to roads and bridges, so this emergency funding is very welcome.”
1:04 – “The DOT told me this is a down payment on more federal support to come. I’m going to keep fighting to ensure the federal government keeps that pledge.”
1:14 – Udall summarizes his efforts to encourage the president to support disaster aid for New Mexico and Santa Clara Pueblo to repair damage to public infrastructure caused by the the July storms.
1:31 – “We are waiting for FEMA to assess the damage from the September storms at this point. When FEMA is done, I expect the governor to ask for federal assistance for the September storms, and I’ll work with the delegation again to push the president to fulfill the state’s request.”
1:49 – Udall discusses the looming threat of a government shutdown and how it might impact New Mexico.
2:05 – “Last Friday, the House passed a temporary spending bill that is unacceptable to me for a couple of reasons: it defunds the Affordable Care Act, and it locks in sequestration.”
2:23 – “A government shutdown would be destructive to New Mexico, especially the labs and military bases, the Waste Isolation Pilot Project, and public land agencies. It also would come when the state badly needs federal assistance to recover from the storms.”
2:42 – “I’m pretty tired of these threats, and I know New Mexicans are too. We need to concentrate on making the healthcare law the best it can be, rather than threatening to run the government off the cliff along with our economy, healthcare, and the well-being of millions of Americans just to score political points. I’m going to do everything I can to find a compromise that will keep the government running.”
3:06 – Udall fields questions regarding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Veterans Affairs’s processing of claims, obstruction in Congress, recent developments in Syria, and funding for Tribal disaster assistance requests.