Luján Statement on Passage of Final Appropriations Package for 2024, Wins for New Mexico

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) issued the following statement on passage of the final appropriations package:

“Early this morning, I was proud to join the Senate in passing this final appropriations package that fully funds the government for the remaining fiscal year while delivering important investments to New Mexico,” said Senator Luján. “This legislation will support our communities by helping more families afford child care and early education, boosting behavioral health services, and investing in the rural recovery services and border inspection technology to help stem the flow of fentanyl. I’m also proud this government funding bill contains critical funding to support our troops with a pay raise and by investing in military housing. I look forward to President Biden signing this legislation and these investments making a difference for every community across our state.”

Senator Luján secured and championed many wins important to New Mexicans, including:

Maternal and Infant Health: The bill dedicates at least $5 million for certified professional midwifery training and $8 million for nurse midwifery education.  The appropriations package also included language to request a plan from the Health, Resources, and Services Administration (HRSA) to assist birth center expansion in rural and urban maternity care deserts. These provisions are based on Senator Luján’s Midwives for MOMS Act and BABIES Act.  

Rural Maternal Health: The bill included $12 million to increase access to maternal and obstetrics care in rural communities. This improves health outcomes for mothers and infants and is based on the Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies (RMOMS) Act that Senator Luján championed during his time in the House.  

Oral Health Literacy: The bill includes $300,000 to continue an oral health awareness and education campaign across HRSA divisions. The bill directs HRSA to identify oral health literacy strategies that are evidence based and focused on oral health care prevention and education, including prevention of oral disease such as early childhood and other caries, periodontal disease, and oral cancer. This is based on Senator Luján’s Oral Health Literacy Act. 

Project Echo: The bill includes a $4 million increase for HRSA to integrate and implement a robust telementoring initiative at academic medical centers like the University of New Mexico. This includes technology enabled delivery of evidence-based curricula, offering of practice based, culturally responsive care, and advancing the skill set of health care workers. 

Behavioral Health and Substance Use Disorder:

This bill included many investments to bolster behavioral health and substance use disorder resources, including:

  • $153 million for the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BWHET) program and $40 million for Training Program to support community-based clinical training and strengthen the mental health workforce through repayment of education loans for individuals working in either a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area or where the overdose death rate exceeds the national average. 
  • $14 million for Peer Support services. Senator Luján is a longtime supporter of peer support services. Peer support workers are people who have been successful in the recovery process who help others experiencing similar situations. Through shared understanding, respect, and mutual empowerment, peer support workers help people become and stay engaged in the recovery process and reduce the likelihood of relapse. Peer support services can effectively extend the reach of treatment beyond the clinical setting into the everyday environment of those seeking a successful, sustained recovery process. 
  • $1.575 billion for State Opioid Response (SOR) grants. Senator Luján was instrumental in enacting SOR grants in 2018 in the SUPPORT Act. The program addresses the opioid overdose crisis by providing resources to states and territories for increasing access to FDA-approved medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder (MOUD), and for supporting the continuum of prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support services for opioid use disorder (OUD) and other concurrent substance use disorders.  
  • $145 million for the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program. Senator Luján was instrumental in enacting these grants in 2018 in the SUPPORT Act. This program funds the Medication Assisted Treatment Access Program that funds the Santa Fe Recovery Center with almost $1 million.  
  • $18 million increase for the 988 Suicide Prevention Lifeline, building on the nearly $400 million increase in fiscal year 2023. 

Stemming the Flow Fentanyl: The bill includes $305,400,000 for installation of non-intrusive inspection technology (NII) at land and sea ports of entry, and an additional $75,500,000 for NII specifically aimed to address fentanyl smuggling. This has been a longtime priority for Senator Luján as he works to stem the flow of fentanyl coming through our ports of entry. 

Corporation for Public Broadcasting: The bill includes $535 million to support more than 1,500 locally owned TV and radio stations nationwide and strengthen local reporting through PBS and NPR—rejecting House Republicans’ proposal to zero out funding. Over 70% of funding is provided directly to local public TV and radio stations. 

Border Screening: The bill also takes the fight against fentanyl and other narcotics to the source by providing $59.1 million in new resources above fiscal year 2023 levels—which includes $10 million for the new fentanyl task forces, $12.1 million to combat transnational crime overseas and $10 million for investigative efforts. 

Early Childhood Education: This bill includes $8.75 billion, a $725 million increase over fiscal year 2023, for Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to help more families afford child care.  

Head Start: This bill includes $12.3 billion, a $275 million increase over fiscal year 2023, for Head Start to set millions of children up for success through early childhood education. Senator Luján is a champion and proud Head Start kid himself.  

Impact Aid: This bill includes $1.6 billion for the Federal Impact Aid Program to ensure all federally connected school districts are able to provide a quality education. Senator Luján has long championed investment in Impact Aid.  

Pay Raise and Housing Support for Servicemembers: The bill provides a 5.2% pay raise for servicemembers and civilians and provides $29.6 billion for military housing and $8.4 billion for subsistence for military families—all of which are critical to supporting our servicemembers and their families. 

Child Care & Early Education for Military Families: The bill provides $167 million to fully fund the Department of Defense’s (DOD) child-care initiatives. This includes $33 million to enable DOD to offer a 50% discount for the first child of employees of DOD child development centers to improve recruitment and retention of staff. 

Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI): The bill includes $300 million in funding for USAI, as requested, to continue support for Ukraine which Senator Luján has long called for to support our allies.

Senator Luján also highlighted over $15 million for 26 New Mexico projects. A list is available here



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