Congressman Ben Ray Luján released the following statement today on the passage of the Surface Transportation Extension Act, which includes provisions to fund transportation projects and prevent interest rates on student loans from doubling at the end of the month. The bill also includes legislation introduced earlier this week by New Mexico's Congressional Delegation to remove the 30-day waiting period for newly purchased National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) polices in areas affected by wildfires on federal lands.
"More than 100 days ago the Senate passed a bipartisan transportation bill to create more than 2 million jobs, including 14,000 jobs in New Mexico, by funding vital road projects around the country. Instead of passing this bipartisan legislation without delay, House Republicans manufactured another crisis through their "my way or the highway' approach while communities across New Mexico continued to lose construction jobs.
"While I believe New Mexico and our nation need a stronger bill that provides greater investments over a longer period of time for the infrastructure that is the backbone of our economy, states and local governments will be able to move forward with critical projects that rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges while putting New Mexicans back to work.
"Included in this legislation are important provisions that will ensure that college students will not see a sudden spike in the cost of their student loans. A higher education is the key to unlocking opportunities for New Mexico's young adults. It is critical that we put a higher education in reach for more people and give them an opportunity to get an education that allows them to follow their dreams.
"Finally, this bill will result in commonsense changes to the NFIP system that benefit New Mexico homeowners during this devastating fire season. With many communities vulnerable to flooding in the aftermath of fires across the state, this important provision will enable homeowners to get the flood protection they need and prevent a delay they can't afford with monsoon season on the horizon."