WASHINGTON D.C. (KRQE) - All but one of New Mexico's senators and representatives voted yes on a fiscal cliff deal that delays spending cuts, extends unemployment insurance and blocks most tax hikes on all but the wealthiest New Mexicans.
In statements, those who voted in favor admitted the deal wasn't perfect, but said it was necessary.
"Middle-class families and small businesses in New Mexico will now have the guarantee that their tax rates will stay where they are, which restores confidence and certainty in the economy," said current Rep. and Sen.-elect Martin Heinrich (D - NM).
"It represents a compromise that protects middle-class families in New Mexico from seeing their income taxes increase and it ensures that those struggling to find work during this difficult time will continue to have support," said Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D - NM).
"I remain disillusioned with the short-term nature of the deal that came through the Senate last night, but ultimately felt we had to pass it," said Sen. Tom Udall (D - NM). "We managed to make progress on middle-class tax cuts, wind energy tax incentives and unemployment insurance, but squandered an opportunity to implement a long-term vision to deal with the debt and deficit."
But New Mexico's lone congressional Republican was a "no" vote Tuesday night, along with 150 other fellow GOP House members.
“I cannot support this or any plan that doesn’t provide a solution,” said Rep. Steve Pearce (R - NM). “
The bill delays by two months automatic across-the-board federal cuts that would've gone into place with a deal passed Tuesday. Those cuts could have a big impact on the already squeezed national labs in the state.
A UNM study estimated that the cuts, as is, would cost New Mexico about 20,000 jobs.
In a phone interview Tuesday evening, Heinrich told KRQE that some cuts would ultimately be inevitable, but says they need to be equitable.
"We need to make sure whatever sort of a deal on spending cuts is fair and that New Mexico doesn't have to shoulder a bigger burden than other states," Heinrich said.
Sen. Udall may be best positioned in New Mexico's congressional delegation to shield the state from cuts. He will soon sit on the powerful Appropriations Committee, which helps determine how federal funding is allocated.
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