July 31, 2020

Luján Secures Key Victories for New Mexico in Second Appropriations Package

Washington, D.C. – U.S. House Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) celebrated the passage of the “Minibus II” appropriations package in the House of Representatives. The package includes the following Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations bills: Defense; Commerce-Justice-Science; Energy and Water Development; Financial Services and General Government; Labor-HHS-Education, and Transportation-HUD.

Assistant Speaker Luján secured funding to implement his Department of Energy National Labs Jobs ACCESS Act, which was signed into law as part of last year’s National Defense Authorization Act. The congressman also secured funding for his Esther Martinez Native American Languages Programs Reauthorization Act to preserve and revitalize Native languages. The appropriations package also supports federal grants for technology-based, peer-to-peer training for health care providers similar to those developed by University of New Mexico’s Project ECHO.

“This appropriations package includes critical funding for key New Mexico priorities that bridge the science workforce gap, create opportunities for our young people, and improve health care in underserved communities,” said Luján. “I was proud to secure measures to support opportunities for New Mexico’s students and young people to fill critical roles at our National Laboratories, teach and preserve America’s Native languages, and improve health care in underserved communities through telementoring and investments in opioid addiction treatment.”

Minibus II includes the following provisions secured by Congressman Luján to support America’s economic recovery and build a prosperous future:  

  • $5 million for Luján’s Department of Energy National Labs Jobs ACCESS Act, which will support apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs that utilize local high schools, community colleges, universities, and other higher education institutions and workforce intermediaries, working in partnership with local National Laboratories, to fill skills gaps in critical sectors of the workforce;
  • Language supporting Luján’s National Labs to Develop Tomorrow’s Technology Leaders Act, which strengthens the Department of Energy’s Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program (LEEP). LEEP utilizes National Laboratories to train and develop the next generation of tech entrepreneurs to meet the broader challenges and needs facing our communities;
  • $220 million for Defense Environmental Cleanup to safely clean up contaminated sites at Los Alamos National Laboratory;
  • $7.025 billion for the Department of Energy's Office of Science for National Labs, including Los Alamos and Sandia National Labs in New Mexico, to continue making discoveries that spur innovation and economic development across the country;
  • Language providing greater flexibility to DOE’s research and development offices in administering the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which provide funds for startups and small businesses across technology areas and markets to stimulate technological innovation, meet federal research and development needs, and drive products to the marketplace;
  • A $2 million increase to the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program to fund the Department of Labor Office of the Ombudsman through Fiscal Year 2021. This program provides compensation and medical benefits to Department of Energy workers involved in nuclear weapons production and testing programs who develop an occupational-related illness;
  • $2.6 billion to support state administration of Unemployment Insurance as states are serving record numbers of workers who have become unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • $1 million to fund a National Academies study on policies and programs to reduce intergenerational poverty and improve child welfare. This study would inform policy and provide a roadmap to improve child welfare in New Mexico; 
  • Language prohibiting Amtrak from eliminating, reducing service, or substantially altering service on the Southwest Chief route. 

Minibus II includes the following provisions secured by Congressman Luján to improve health care in low-income, rural, and underserved communities: 

  • $10 million for grants to support technology-based collaborative learning models like Project ECHO that connect specialists at academic medical centers with primary care providers in rural and underserved areas, plus $1 million for a national telementoring training center;
  • $10 million for Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers to address the opioid crisis and bolster treatment and recovery services. These grants will support facilities that provide the full continuum of treatment services - including all FDA-approved methods of medication assisted treatment, peer support, and wrap-around services for families - and develop best practices to improve treatment across the country.
  • $286.5 million for Title X family planning program and language blocking the Trump administration’s 2019 “gag rule”, allowing health centers to return to providing high-quality, essential preventive health and family planning services to millions of low-income individuals; 
  • Language blocking the Trump administration’s harmful birth control rules, which would allow virtually any employer or university to refuse to provide birth control coverage for their employees or students as required by the Affordable Care Act.  This amendment ensures that the decision about whether to use birth control and which method to use is made between a patient, their health care provider, and no one else;
  • Language to prevent the Department of Justice from using any federal funds for the Trump administration's lawsuit to strike down the Affordable Care Act. 

Minibus II includes the following provisions secured by Congressman Luján to support Tribal communities: 

  • $15 million for Esther Martinez Native American Language programs to fund community-based language revitalization efforts. Luján’s legislation to reauthorize this program, named after an Ohkay Owingeh language advocate, was signed into law in December 2019;
  • $4.7 million for the Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institutions (NASNTI) program, which makes grants to colleges and universities that enroll at least 10 percent Native American students, including language to support the preparation and development of aspiring rural and Indigenous teachers. Four of the 37 NASNTI institutions in the country are in New Mexico: San Juan College, Eastern New Mexico - Ruidoso Campus, New Mexico State University - Grants, and Northern New Mexico College.

Press Contact

Monica Garcia (202) 225-6190