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Udall Gets Key Senate Money Post

WASHINGTON — New Mexico won’t have the most senior delegation when the 113th Congress convenes early next year, but it will have a seat on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat entering the fifth year of his first six-year term, learned Wednesday that he will serve on the elite spending committee — an assignment that could be critical for New Mexico, which is heavily dependent on federal money.

“A seat on the Appropriations Committee is very meaningful for New Mexico,” Udall said in a statement. “From the labs to the military bases and our public lands, we have a large federal presence in our state. I have no illusions about the difficult economic times and budgetary constraints our nation is facing, and I am eager to do my best and defend New Mexico through the appropriations process.”

Meanwhile, Sen.-elect Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., was appointed to serve on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. It is another committee important to New Mexico, a major energy-producing state.

Heinrich also will serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Udall will also serve on the Foreign Relations, Environment and Public Works and Indian Affairs committees.

The Senate committee assignments are subject to approval by the full Democratic caucus and an organizing resolution by the full Senate when the 113th Congress convenes in January.

Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., learned Wednesday that he will serve on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, while Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M, will serve on the Financial Services Committee.

It remained unclear late Wednesday which committees Rep.-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., will be assigned to.

“New Mexico is poised to be leader in a clean energy economy, and this assignment will provide New Mexico with an important voice in the discussion of how we move forward toward this critical goal,” Luján said of his appointment.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, a Democrat who is retiring after 30 years in the Senate, said Udall’s appointment was “a major asset for New Mexico.”

“Whether it’s our national laboratories, military bases, or education and health care initiatives, New Mexico relies very heavily on federal funding,” Bingaman told the Journal. “Sen. Udall will be in an excellent position to ensure New Mexico’s interests are protected.”
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal