Luján Secures Wins in American Rescue Plan to Provide Relief to Farmers and Ranchers, Bridge Digital Divide, and Support Local, State, and Tribal Governments
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) secured measures in the Senate-passed American Rescue Plan to provide direct relief to New Mexico farmers and ranchers, bridge the digital divide in rural and Tribal communities, support local, state, and Tribal governments, and more. After an overnight “vote-a-rama,” the Senate passed the American Rescue Plan, which included $1,400 direct payments, extended unemployment benefits, tax credits for thousands of New Mexico families, and crucial funding for vaccine distribution.
“The American Rescue Plan provides crucial relief at a time when New Mexicans are still struggling financially. As a new member of the Senate, I fought to ensure that New Mexico priorities were included in this package, and that our farmers and ranchers, workers and small businesses, and local, state, and Tribal governments were strongly supported,” said Luján. “I am also proud to have ensured that the American Rescue Plan invests in bridging the digital divide and addressing the homework gap for students, especially those living in rural and Tribal communities. This package will help empower New Mexicans to recover and rebuild from this pandemic.”
A full breakdown of the American Rescue Plan is available here.
Senator Luján secured key priorities for New Mexico in the American Rescue Plan:
To Support New Mexico’s Agriculture Economy:
- $4 billion in direct relief to help Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and farmers and ranchers of color pay off outstanding USDA farm loan debts and related taxes, and help them respond to the economic impacts of the pandemic;
- $1 billion to support activities at USDA that will root out systemic racism, provide technical and legal assistance to farmers and ranchers of color, and fund under-resourced programs that will shape the future for farmers and communities of color.
To Aid Local Communities:
- $195.3 billion for state governments, $130.2 billion for local governments, and $20 billion for Tribal governments. As a member of the House, Senator Luján introduced the Coronavirus Community Relief Act to provide robust relief to local governments.
To Bridge the Digital Divide:
- $10 billion for critical infrastructure, including broadband;
- $7.1 billion to support E-Rate and remote learning to address the homework gap;
- $1 billion for the Technology Modernization Fund and $200 million for the U.S. Digital Service.
To Support Children and Working Families:
- Expands a fully refundable $3,000 Child Tax Credit (CTC) to all children under 18 ($3,600 for children under age 6) for families making less than $150,000, which will be paid in advance monthly to families based on the number and age of their children;
- $1 billion to Head Start;
- $24 billion to stabilize the child care industry;
- $15 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant.
To Bolster Behavioral Health Services:
- $100 million for the Behavioral Health Workforce and Training Program to train behavioral health paraprofessionals.
To Support Small Businesses:
- Establishes a $25 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which will provide grants to help local restaurants keep their doors open and keep their workers employed. Senator Luján co-led the RESTAURANTS Act, which first proposed this funding;
- Provides an additional $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and expands eligibility for nonprofits and digital news outlets;
- Adds $15 billion for the Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance program to help the hardest-hit small businesses.
For Students and Teachers:
- Provides $130 billion for K-12 education, with set-aside funding for summer enrichment, afterschool programs, and education technology;
- Allocates $40 billion to colleges and universities;
- Adds $850 million for Bureau of Indian Education-funded and -operated schools.