New Mexico's congressional delegation votes to pass another relief package
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Lawmakers in Washington passed another relief package Thursday, which includes more money for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.
The bill includes $380 billion for small businesses, $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for COVID-19 testing.
The bill pours more money into the Paycheck Protection Program, which ran out of money.
Congressman Ben Ray Lujan was one of the Democrats leading the charge to pass the package.
"So many people, small businesses and communities continue to struggle," he said.
Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich voted for the bill earlier in the week.
"There's another program called the EIDL, Economic Injury Disaster Loans. That program is even more important in many cases for New Mexico because it focuses on some of the micro businesses that we have," Heinrich said. "We have a lot of mom and pop shops that are literally four or five employees. That's a really important program for those businesses as well."
Congresswoman Deb Haaland also backed the bill, but added that more could be done to help people.
"I'm glad the bill we're voting on today will provide some funding for small businesses and address the need to ramp up testing but it might not be enough to meet the demand," Haaland said.
Haaland and Lujan claim the bill and Republicans aren't doing enough for local governments, immigrants or tribes that are affected by the coronavirus.
However, Rep. Xochitl Torres Small says it's going to take both Democrats and Republicans to fix the problems caused by COVID-19.
"There is still so much work to be done and let's do that next step together," she said.
In response to the vote, Steve Pearce, chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party, released the following statement:
"During this health crisis and economic collapse, it is imperative that we provide funding to save our small businesses, hospitals and other vital institutions. The country's economy is in a free fall, and the federal government's assistance is the right tactic. But it's temporary relief. New Mexico's government must take decisive action now and reopen our businesses. Big Box stores are steering New Mexico dollars out of the state, while locally-owned businesses and Main Streets here are shuttered and suffering a slow death. For us to recover as a state, we must act now."