Nambé, N.M. – U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.)issued the following statement on President Biden’s American Jobs Plan to empower Americans to Build Back Better:
“Communities across America need investments in clean drinking water, wastewater infrastructure, improving roads and bridges, and getting residents to 100% internet connectivity. I’m glad that President Biden is working with Congress to invest in our infrastructure, create good-paying, union jobs, and bolster the economy. The American Jobs Plan will empower Americans to Build Back Better and recover and rebuild from this public health and economic crisis.
“The American Jobs Plan is already widely supported by the American people, and I know that these much-needed investments in New Mexico will earn that same support across our state. There is no greater return on investment than when we invest in our people – and that’s what the American Jobs Plan will do.”
Senator Luján championed the following provisions in the American Jobs Plan:
For health care:
- $18 billion for the modernization of Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics, including at the New Mexico VA Health Care System and 15 clinics across New Mexico;
- Expanded access to Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) under Medicaid, which also supports good-paying caregiver jobs that include benefits and the ability to collectively bargain, building state infrastructure to improve the quality of services and to support workers.
- $10 billion to establish a new Civilian Climate Corps that will mobilize the next generation of conservation and resilience workers. The proposal is in line with legislation being announced in the coming days by Sens. Coons, Heinrich, and Luján and Reps. Neguse and Spanberger to authorize the administration to utilize existing national service programs and coordinate with federal and non-federal entities to create a Civilian Climate Corps;
- $48 billion in workforce development and worker protection programs, including creating one to two million new registered apprenticeships slots and supporting pre-apprenticeships, strengthening community college job training partnerships, and investing in Expanded Career Services and the Title II adult literacy program.
- Prioritizes funding “orphaned” oil and gas wells (abandoned wells with no responsible party for cleanup) that can leak methane, contaminate groundwater, and create safety risks. Even before the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, federal agencies and states responsible for plugging and reclaiming these wells had limited funding for cleanup. This has been a longstanding priority of Senator Luján and would create thousands of jobs for energy workers impacted by the pandemic.
- $100 billion to upgrade and build new K-12 public schools: $50 billion in direct grants and $50 billion in bonds;
- $15 billion in creating 200 Centers of Excellence at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and $10 billion investment in research and development at MSIs.
For National Laboratories:
- $40 billion to upgrade research infrastructure in laboratories across the country, including brick-and-mortar facilities and computing capabilities and networks. With two National Laboratories, top-tier research universities, and the Air Force Research Lab, this investment will help prioritize funding for maintenance, repairs, and the modernization of critical infrastructure in New Mexico. It will help build our nation’s continued scientific and economic competitiveness and help the state attract the best and brightest scientists to national service. This funding will also create thousands of high-quality, well-paying construction jobs in New Mexico. Senator Lujan previously introduced the Restore and Modernize Our National Labs Act to modernize the infrastructure of our national laboratories and ensure our laboratories can focus on the science and technology challenges of the future.
For connecting families:
- $100 billion in a historic investment to bring affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband. In the House and as Chair of the Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband, Senator Luján has championed this funding to reach 100 percent coverage in New Mexico and across America;
- Invests in rural and Tribal communities, including by providing 100 percent broadband coverage through $5 billion for a new Rural Partnership Program to help rural regions, including Tribal Nations, build on their unique assets and realize their vision for inclusive community and economic development.
For clean energy:
- Creates an Energy Efficiency and Clean Electricity Standard (EECES) to modernize power generation and deliver clean electricity. This builds on Senator Luján’s Clean Energy Standard Act that he introduced last Congress with Senator Tina Smith and would to put our nation on course to achieve net-zero emissions from the electric sector to fight climate change.