Senate blocks effort to codify Roe v. Wade

A vote in the U.S. Senate to end the filibuster on the Women’s Health Protection Act failed on Wednesday. The Senate took up the issue originally in February when Senate Republicans filibustered the bill. To end the filibuster and allow the Senate to vote on the legislation, Senate Democrats needed 60 votes in support. With one Democrat siding with Republicans and a 50-50 party split in the chamber, Democrats lacked enough votes to try to hear the bill on the floor. The Women’s Health Protection Act would have codified Roe v. Wade in advance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s final decision on the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban expected this summer.

Congressional bill would increase prepartum and postpartum Medicaid coverage 

A bill before the U.S. House of Representatives would increase the rates of federal government reimbursement for Medicaid coverage for women during both prepartum and postpartum care. U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury, a Democrat representing New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, is a cosponsor on the bill and introduced the legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives last week. Stansbury told NM Political Report that the Advancing Maternal Health Equity Under Medicaid Act is important legislation for New Mexico because 72 percent of births in the state are covered by Medicaid. She said that if the bill passes both chambers of Congress and is signed into law by President Joe Biden, Medicaid coverage in New Mexico would expand to include 90 percent of maternal health both before and after a birth. “I think one of the things that it’s important to understand in general about health care accessibility in New Mexico is so many folks in New Mexico struggle economically.

Stansbury speaks in support of renewing the federal Child Tax Credit

U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury called renewing the federal Child Tax Credit an equity issue during a press conference on Thursday. The federal Child Tax Credit, which provided $3,000 per child between ages 6 and 17 and $3,600 per child under 6 the last six months of 2021, was a measure within the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The average Child Tax Credit payment per household was $444 in December according to a U.S. Senate Joint Economic Committee report. Democrats are now seeking to renew and extend the federal Child Tax Credit through the Build Back Better Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in Nov. by a vote of 220–213, along party lines, but the bill has stalled in the U.S. Senate which is more evenly divided.

Bill to protect women’s right to abortion passes U.S. House of Representatives

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act on Friday by 218 to 211 largely along party lines. One Texas Democrat voted against it while all Republicans voted against the bill. U.S. Representatives Melanie Stansbury of New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, and Teresa Leger Fernández New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District, both Democrats, voted for the bill. The bill would protect women’s right to an abortion in every state and end gestational bans and other restrictions to reproductive access. The bill is unlikely to pass the U.S. Senate.

2020 Elections: U.S. House candidates on environmental issues

This week, we’re running a series of interviews with New Mexico’s federal candidates, each of whom answered questions about issues related to our energy future, water scarcity and climate change. First Congressional District: Incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland is running for reelection against Republican Michelle Garcia Holmes. Haaland, a member of Laguna Pueblo, was one of the first two indigenous women to be elected to Congress when she won her election in 2018. Prior to that, Haaland served as chairwoman of the New Mexico Democratic Party from 2015 to 2017. In 2014, Haaland ran for Lieutenant Governor on former state Attorney General Gary King’s gubernatorial ticket, but ultimately lost to Republican Susana Martinez and Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez.

Candidate Q&A: Deb Haaland on environmental issues

This week, we’re running a series of interviews with New Mexico’s congressional candidates, each of whom answered questions about issues related to our energy future, water scarcity and climate change. 

You can find all our congressional candidate interviews here. 

The following interview is with Deb Haaland, who is running for reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives for the state’s first congressional district. Haaland, a member of Laguna Pueblo, was one of the first two indigenous women to be elected to Congress when she won her election in 2018. Prior to that, Haaland served as chairwoman of the New Mexico Democratic Party from 2015 to 2017. In 2014, Haaland ran for Lieutenant Governor on former state Attorney General Gary King’s gubernatorial ticket, but ultimately lost to Republican Susana Martinez and Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez. Haaland also served on then-president Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign as New Mexico’s vote director for Native Americans. 

New Mexico’s First Congressional District covers parts of Bernalillo, Santa Fe, Sandoval and Valencia and Torrance counties.

Candidate Q&A: Teresa Leger Fernandez on environmental issues

This week, we’re running a series of interviews with New Mexico’s federal candidates, each of whom answered questions about issues related to our energy future, water scarcity and climate change. 

You can find all our congressional candidate interviews here. 

The following interview is with Teresa Leger Fernandez, a Democrat who is running for New Mexico’s Third Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The seat is currently held by U.S. Rep Ben Ray Luján. Luján is running for the open U.S. Senate seat. 

Leger Fernandez runs the Santa Fe-based social impact law firm Leger Law and Strategy. She was appointed as vice chair to the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation under President Barack Obama’s administration. She was also appointed as a White House Fellow by President Bill Clinton.

Candidate Q&A: Alexis Johnson on environmental issues

This week, we’re running a series of interviews with New Mexico’s federal candidates, each of whom answered questions about issues related to our energy future, water scarcity and climate change. 

You can find all our congressional candidate interviews here. 

The following interview is with Alexis Johnson, a Republican who is running for New Mexico’s Third Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The seat is currently held by U.S. Rep Ben Ray Luján. Luján is running for the open U.S. Senate seat. 

Johnson is an environmental engineer and rancher. She worked at the Midland, Texas-based environmental consulting firm Larson & Associates. Johnson is running against Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez.

Candidate Q&A: Steve Jones on environmental issues

This week, we’re running a series of interviews with New Mexico’s federal candidates, each of whom answered questions about issues related to our energy future, water scarcity and climate change. 

You can find all our congressional candidate interviews here. 

The following interview is with Steve Jones, who is running for New Mexico’s Second Congressional District seat to the U.S. House of Representatives as an Independent and a write-in candidate.  

Jones is a retired energy executive, and has experience as a business consultant and TV producer. 

Jones is facing Democratic incumbent Xochitl Torres Small and Republican challenger Yvette Herrell for the seat. Herrell did not respond to requests for an interview. Torres Small scheduled an interview with NM Political Report twice for this Q&A but had to cancel both times due to schedule conflicts related to the House of Representatives’ voting schedule. 

NM Political Report (NMPR): What energy future do you see for New Mexico and the United States? Steve Jones: The fact is we are using a technology which is controversial and has simultaneously increased our exports to where we’re self-sufficient energy wise, and at the same time, excited a whole lot of people who would rather not have as much energy. My expectation is, depending on the outcome of the election, we will either have a restriction on hydrocarbon production or we will have business as usual.

Will Pelosi open the floor to bipartisan ideas?

Nancy Pelosi is returning as speaker of the House of Representatives amid a partisan standoff that has made it virtually impossible to move forward on major legislation requiring the support of both Democrats and Republicans. Now, she has a chance to fix at least part of the problem. Prodded by some House Democrats, in late November she agreed to establish a more open process for working on legislation and to allow more votes on amendments supported by both parties. The changes in rules, expected to come to a vote after the House reconvenes Thursday, will help set the parameters for Pelosi’s second stint as speaker. Historically, amendment votes have been critical to legislation, allowing in a variety of ideas.