On Friday, Rio Rancho Elementary faculty and students celebrated the school’s recent listing as one of ESPN’s Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools for 2022. It was the only elementary school on the list. Rio Rancho Elementary was recognized for its inclusivity measures pertaining to school sports that includes all learners including those with intellectual disabilities. One of the people at Rio Rancho Elementary to celebrate the day was Sen. Martin Heinrich. “I’m here today because what you’re doing is super cool,” Heinrich told a group of Rio Rancho Elementary students.
U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján, a New Mexico Democrat, introduced a bill that would require Congress to be notified of alleged Hatch Act violations. The Hatch Act regulates partisan political activities for most federal executive branch employees and some state and local employees. “The Hatch Act was signed into law to prevent public officials from using their position for political gain while protecting federal employees from political influence,” Luján said in a news release. “However, when potential violations do occur, the Office of Special Counsel has failed to investigate and prosecute some of the most serious claims, undermining the American people and the rule of law.”
Luján’s bill, which has not been assigned a number yet, would require the OSC to report to Congress in the event it declines to investigate an alleged Hatch Act violation and to provide an annual report to the Chair and Ranking Members Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. The proposed public report would include the number of allegations received by the Special Counsel in the previous year and the number of allegations that resulted in an investigation, with separate data sets for political appointees and career federal workers.
If the federal government defaults on its debt for a prolonged period of time, New Mexico could lose up to 37,500 jobs, according to a new report by Moody’s Analytics released May 10. This report details two possible outcomes: should the U.S. default and then correct itself in the immediate aftermath and in the event of a prolonged default.
“We now assign a 10 percent probability to a breach,” the report states. “If there is a breach, it is much more likely to be a short one than a prolonged one. But even a lengthy standoff no longer has a zero probability. What once seemed unimaginable now seems a real threat.”
The expected deadline to prevent default is June 8 although due to the nature of economics, the date is subject to change, the report states.
President Joe Biden met with congressional leadership from both parties Tuesday to negotiate an end to the federal debt ceiling dispute. Both Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy delivered comments and took questions following the closed-session meeting. Biden called the meeting productive. The meeting was called to discuss a path beyond the current debt ceiling problems.
“America is not going to default on this debt for the first time in history. Never has, never well,” Biden said.
The internet can be a dangerous place for young people, especially social media platforms where children and adults can interact with minimal or nonexistent barriers. To help combat the dangers children may face online, Democratic U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján and others reintroduced the Kids Online Safety Act which was sponsored by Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn. The bill, however, is controversial and many privacy, tech and LGBTQ+ groups oppose the bill, and they say it could actually cause harm to minors by restricting access to information based on what state attorneys general determine to be harmful. This comes as states throughout the country target abortion access and LGBTQ+ rights. “Big Tech knows that the algorithms they use to maximize time spent online also lead to harm, particularly for children,” Luján said in a statement supporting the bill.
Two dueling bills in Congress attempt to address the debt ceiling and these actions could include harsh cuts that may affect New Mexicans. One of the bills would eliminate the debt ceiling altogether while the other expands the debt ceiling and imposes deep cuts, including to social programs like food assistance. These proposed cuts in the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023, which was proposed by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, on April 19, include recalling unspent pandemic-related funding, ending President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, repealing green tax credits, cutting funding to the IRS and limiting other discretionary spending. The bill’s cuts seek to save taxpayers $45 trillion. “The spending limits are not draconian.
Former President Donald Trump turned himself into authorities Tuesday, on charges relating to his paying hush money to adult film performer Stormy Daniels. Trump, 76, pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of first degree falsifying business records in New York Supreme Court for allegedly buying off information that could have portrayed him in a negative light. This included allegedly paying Daniels, another woman and a doorman through an intermediary during the 2016 election cycle as a means of keeping Trump’s affairs with the women quiet. Trump allegedly provided the money even though Daniels reportedly had been open about his affair with her in previous years. Court records state that Trump and others were complicit in a scheme that “violated election laws and made and caused false entries in the business records of various entities in New York.
Both of New Mexico’s U.S. Senators were in the bipartisan majority in voting to repeal the decades-old authorizations of use of military force in Iraq.
The chamber voted 66-30 to repeal the AUMFs. The authorizations came in 1991 and 2002 and have been used to justify American military actions throughout the Middle East well beyond their initial conflicts. Attempts to end the wide-spanning AUMFs over the years have fallen short, most recently in 2021, when a Republican blockade ended the White-House-backed proposal. Both of New Mexico’s U.S. Senators are Democrats. “Congress has the significant responsibility to authorize when and where we send troops into battle.
A new interstate, I-27, could run from Laredo, Texas to Raton as part of the Ports-to-Plains Corridor. U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján, a Democrat from New Mexico, signed onto bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, Republicans from Texas, to formally name the Ports-to-Plains Corridor Interstate 27. U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington, a Republican from Texas,introduced the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. “I was proud to work together with Senator Cruz to designate a portion of the Ports-to-Plains Corridor as an addition to the interstate system last Congress,” Luján said in a news release. “We are continuing to work together to support the development of this corridor in New Mexico and Texas.
U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján and U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury, both Democrats, spoke to state legislators during a joint legislative session Tuesday. Luján spoke about bipartisan legislative efforts at the federal level, his recovery from a stroke he suffered last year and what legislating means to him. “That’s what this body is, incredible leaders from all over New Mexico, every small town, village, big town and big city,” Luján said. “A big part of what we do together is navigating those challenges when it comes to constituent casework one at a time. One person at a time, one family at a time.