July 21, 2020

Luján Secures Major Investments for National Laboratories and Environmental Priorities in National Defense Authorization Act

Washington, D.C. – U.S. House Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) secured critical investments for America’s National Laboratories and environmental priorities in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, which passed the House with bipartisan support on Tuesday.     

“While the Trump administration has failed to adequately address the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress has come together in a bipartisan manner to strengthen our military response to future pandemics. I’m proud that this legislation addresses the national security concerns related to this public health emergency, provides our servicemembers a much-deserved raise, invests in our critical national laboratories, and recognizes those impacted by radiation exposure during the Cold War,” said Luján 

As our nation continues to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the NDAA includes a critical provision creating a $1 billion Pandemic Preparedness and Resilience National Security Fund to increase our ability to prepare for and respond to future pandemics. The NDAA also includes a 3 percent pay raise for active duty servicemembers and requires additional improvements for military housing to take care of our nation’s military families. 

The FY21 NDAA includes the following priorities for New Mexico:

A historic increase in authorization levels for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) that will support the missions of Los Alamos National Lab and Sandia National Lab

  • Increases the budget for Los Alamos National Lab by nearly $1 billion.
  • Increases the budget for Sandia National Lab by more than $300 million.

Protects basic research programs at Sandia and Los Alamos National Labs

  • Includes language protecting the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program by exempting this program from paying internal lab overhead tax. This provision increases basic research at Los Alamos and Sandia National Labs by a combined $24 million each year.

Leverages National Laboratories to combat the climate crisis

  • Calls for the participation of National Security Laboratories – including Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories – to address climate-driven national security risks. This provision is also recommended in the report recently released by the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis that Congressman Luján sits on.

Invests in Kirtland Air Force Base

  • Includes $46 million for building improvements at Kirtland AFB. 

Recognizes Radiation Exposure Survivors 

Following the 75th anniversary of the Trinity Test in New Mexico, Luján secured a congressional apology for states – including New Mexico – impacted by radiation from nuclear testing. The NDAA also includes a Sense of Congress that the United States should compensate and recognize all of the miners, workers, downwinders, and others suffering from the effects of uranium mining and nuclear testing carried out during the Cold War. Luján has championed strengthening the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. 


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Monica Garcia (202) 225-6190