Udall Votes to Reopen the Government

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Udall Votes to Reopen the Government 

As 10,000+ in NM prepare to miss another paycheck, Udall-supported proposal would fund federal government and provide relief to New Mexico’s workforce and economy without preconditions

 WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) voted for a clean and responsible proposal to reopen the federal government without preconditions. The proposal would reopen currently closed agencies and fund the federal government through February 8th, to allow Congress and the president to negotiate on border and immigration issues without holding federal employees and government services hostage. The measure attracted bipartisan support, receiving a 52-44 vote, but failed to reach the 60-vote threshold to advance in the Senate.

Udall voted against the alternative proposal from President Trump and Senate Republican leadership which provides $5.7 billion for the president’s wall, an amount far beyond the President’s 2019 budget request, while not providing meaningful relief for Dreamers and including new, permanent “poison pill” changes to immigration and asylum law that further endangers children. This measure also failed to reach the 60-vote threshold to advance in the Senate, and received fewer votes than the Udall-supported proposal, with a final vote of 50-47.

“This cruel shutdown is hurting too many in New Mexico and across the country. It should never have happened, and we must end it once and for all. While the Trump administration and Senate Republican leaders continue to hold families hostage, Democrats offered a responsible path forward to reopen the government and then allow us to discuss issues related to border security and immigration. Right now, New Mexicans are facing the very real consequences of President Trump and Senate Republicans’ bad faith and unserious proposals related to the shutdown. Tomorrow, thousands of federal workers, many of whom are living paycheck-to-paycheck, will miss yet another paycheck, and thousands more will be unable to access critical public services that our state depends on.”

“I cannot support a measure that validates the president’s governance-by-extortion, throws billions of dollars at a border wall that our communities oppose, and makes permanent, anti-immigrant changes to our immigration laws – especially ones that would put children in danger. I hope that more of my Republican colleagues will come together with Democrats in ending this reckless shutdown and come to the table to discuss legitimate solutions to keep our nation safe and secure.”

This Friday, January 25th, 800,000 federal workers, including more than 10,800 New Mexicans, will go without a second paycheck unless we stop this shutdown immediately. Federal contractors are scrambling to make ends meet and being forced to choose between the essentials just to stay afloat. Many more New Mexicans continue to face personal risks and hardship due to closed or reduced federal programs and services, including Tribal health and safety programs grinding to a halt, national parks closed or unsupervised, shuttered USDA agriculture loans, TSA and air traffic controllers working without pay, and other grave consequences. 

Today, Udall and Heinrich sent a letter to Margaret Weichert, Acting Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), to take urgent action to prevent federal employees from losing vision and dental insurance, or having to pay out of pocket for coverage. 

On January 11th, Udall and Senator Martin Heinrich cosponsored and voted for legislation in the Senate to ensure that impacted federal and other government workers will receive their back pay as soon as federal agencies reopen. On January 17th, the senators introduced a bill to help struggling employees of federal contractors impacted by the shutdown. The senators also joined a group of 34 Democratic senators in writing to the Office of Management and Budget to urge them to direct federal agencies to work with contractors to provide back pay to compensate low- and middle-income contractor employees for the wages they have lost during the shutdown