Congresswoman Leger Fernández helped pass the fiscal year 2023 appropriations bill to fund the government. The bill includes $23,552,000 in specific Community Project Funding for New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District. It also includes other provisions she championed, including an additional $1.45 billion for wildfire relief.

Leger Fernandez said, “These investments make us safer, offer care for those suffering from addiction, build affordable housing, improve our water resources, and strengthen our communities. From Chama to Curry County and Shiprock to Santa Fe, we are making sure no dime is left in Washington that can be put to good use in our communities.”

Another key element of the bill is the consent of Congress to amend the New Mexico State Constitution following the will of New Mexico voters in the Nov. 8 election to expand access to early childhood and K-12 education.

At the representative’s request, the bill:

  • Provides advanced appropriations for the Indian Health Service so essential health services are not disrupted;
  • Expands technical assistance for those applying for broadband grants  to become more accessible for rural communities;
  • Funds acequia infrastructure.

It includes:

  • $15 million for dam and reservoir projects in the CD3 and tens of millions more for water projects that will benefit all of New Mexico.
  • Funds to promote apprenticeship opportunities for clean energy jobs and money for coal and fossil fuel communities to support workers and their families.
  • Amends the Electoral Count Act to ensure a peaceful transfer of power.

Rep. Leger Fernández championed funding for 15 community projects that will directly benefit New Mexico’s 3rd District. These include:

  •  $550,000 for the Chama Water Treatment Plant Improvements.
  • $2 million for the Collaborative for Higher Education Shared Services (CHESS) for cybersecurity shared services program at Clovis Community College, Mesalands Community College, Northern New Mexico College, San Juan College, and Santa Fe Community College.
  • $3 million for the County of Taos Detox Center.
  • $1.6 million for Cuba Health Center Workforce Housing.
  • $750,000 for the Homeownership Assistance Voucher Program through Homewise.
  • $960,000 for the One Generation Indigenous Farm Hub.
  • $750,000 for the Mora County Hub for Community-based Services through HELP NM.
  • $3 million for the Navajo Nation’s Shiprock Home for Women and Children. 
  • $750,000 for the New Mexico Highlands University School of Social Work Center of Excellence and Native American Social Studies Institute.
  • $750,000 for the Northwest New Mexico Council of Government’s Greater Gallup Industrial Workforce program to transition and re-skill workers into the industrial industry.
  • $3 million for the Raton Film Studio and Education Center.
  • $640,000 for the Santa Clara Pueblo Riverside Water Conveyance, Water Treatment, and Wastewater Facility.
  • $1.5 million for the Santo Domingo Pueblo Wastewater Distribution System.
  • $4 million for the Taos Pueblo Spider Rock Road Improvement Project.
  • $267,000 for Curry County Virtual Reality Training Simulators.

Other funding and policy provisions secured by Rep. Leger Fernández in the package include:

  • $1.45 billion for the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire Assistance Program, including $140 million for the Las Vegas water treatment facility improvements to treat drinking water sources contaminated by the fire.
  • $27 million for the Emergency Forest Restoration Program.
  • $925 million for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program.
  • $7 billion for the fiscal year 2023 and $5.129 billion for the fiscal year 2024 to fund the Indian Health Service, marking the first time in history that IHS has received an advance appropriation of funding.
  • $10 million for the Indian Irrigation Fund.
  • $2.1 million for teacher recruitment and retention in elementary and secondary school programs under the Bureau of Indian Education.
  • $286.3 million for Los Alamos National Labs cleanup projects.
  • $4.6 million for the Eastern New Mexico Water Supply/Ute Reservoir project.
  • Up to $5 million to support the Rural Partners Network (RPN), an alliance of federal agencies and civic partners working to expand rural prosperity through job creation, infrastructure development, and community improvement – including the pilot network that includes Colfax, Mora, Taos and San Miguel counties..
  • $50 million to provide assistance to displaced workers in communities that have experienced job losses due to dislocations in industries related to fossil fuel extraction or energy production.
  • $69 million for assistance to Energy Transition Communities, including $48 million for assistance to coal communities, $16.5 million for assistance to nuclear power plant closure communities and $4.5 million for assistance to biomass power plant closure communities.
  • $36 million to support grants that promote economic development in partnership with Economic Development Districts (EDDs), Tribes, and other entities.
  • $86.1 million to support the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) grant program, which is intended to improve emergency management and preparedness capabilities by supporting flexible, sustainable, secure, strategically located, and fully interoperable EOCs.
  • $233 million to fully fund the Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) and Building of Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC).
  • $459 million to develop regional technology hubs to promote research, commercialization, and competitiveness in all corners of America.
  • $9.6 million for acequias.
  • $5.1 million for the Abiquiu Dam.
  • $4.5 million for Cochiti Lake.
  •  $3.2 million for Conchas Lake.
  • $711,000 for Galisteo Dam. 
  • $1.3 million for the Jemez Canyon Dam.
  • $3 million for the Rio Grande Pueblos.
  • $20,000 for the Tucumcari Project.
  • Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement, passing reforms to the Electoral Count Act to protect democracy and the peaceful transfer of power.
  • Strong Veterans Act of 2022 to provide mental health resources to veterans.
  • Language directing USDA to establish a ReConnect technical assistance strategy. This strategy will assist applicants with initial planning and development of applications for USDA ReConnect Program loans, grants, and loan-grant combinations.
  • Language calling for clean energy apprenticeships within the National Apprenticeship Program, especially in areas experiencing losses in fossil fuel jobs.
  • Language encouraging USDA to consider the creation of a water treatment demonstration project for areas impacted by PFAS contamination from BRAC sites.

The legislation will now go to President Biden’s desk for his signature. A detailed summary of the bill is available HERE.